Energy Efficient Appliances

The energy used by Americans’ homes amounts to approximately 40% of all energy that is consumed in the country. While appliance manufacturers and even the U.S. Government are taking a more active approach in pushing home appliances to be more efficient and eco-friendly, the change isn’t occurring fast enough. Every large appliance manufacturer that distributes its products in the U.S. is required to include an Energy Guide label on each of its appliances. Energy Guide labels compare their models with other similar models on the market. However, the appliances that are the most efficient aren’t always readily represented or made readily available to consumers for a more sound judgment for their purchase. In order to ensure that your home is as energy-efficient as possible, you should conduct research on the energy efficiency of as the models offered by multiple manufacturers.

A staggering amount of the energy used in American homes is generated from washing and drying clothes. Out of that energy used, almost 90% of it is consumed from the water that is heated for the washing machine. Taking into consideration that the average American household runs the washing machine over 400 times a year and a full load of laundry can use up to 40 gallons of water, then each household is responsible for consuming and heating around 16,000 gallons of water each year! Simple steps can be taken to reduce this staggering number such as washing clothes with cold water when possible and using the available energy-saving features on the washers. Clothes dryers that are operated by gas instead of electricity typically cost less and are much more environmentally-friendly. In fact, gas dryers have been shown to produce an average of 40% less carbon dioxide than their electric counterparts. When shopping for a gas dryer, choose one that features a moisture sensor, which can prove to be around 15% more efficient than more traditional timed dryers.

Contrary to the belief of many people, modern dishwashers use less water than washing dishes by hand. They also have helpful features such as no-heat drying capabilities and booster heaters. Always check for the amount of water the dishwasher you are shopping for consumes per cycle. While dishwasher use consists only of about 2% of the average American’s energy consumption, the water consumption can vary greatly among the models offered – sometimes up to eight gallons per load.

Finally, while it is extremely important to monitor the energy consumption of all home appliances it is important to know that the refrigerator is the third largest energy user in the home. Refrigerator-efficiency is largely dependant on their configuration; top freezer models are generally more efficient than side-by-side door models. Refrigerators with manual defrost modes or at least partially-automatic defrost modes are more efficient as well.

Simple comparison shopping for energy-efficient appliances can save your family up to hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs as well as enable you to make a much less harmful impact on the environment.

Energy Efficient Bathrooms

The bathroom is one of the easiest and rooms in the house to make more energy efficient.  Since bathrooms are typically not very large and the places that they utilize the most waste are easily recognizable many people choose to start in the bathroom when they take on the important task of making their homes more energy-efficient.  Here are a few simple tips to make your own bathroom much more green:

Since the bathroom is all about water, it’s an obvious first point of interest in reducing waste.  Showers account for much of the water that is used in typical households so installing low-flow showerheads should be high on your to-do list.  Low-flow showerheads can cut your shower water consumption by up to one half.  The second place to look in the bathroom to save water is the toilet.  Modern water-saving toilets can have an immense impact on the amount of water your family uses each day when you consider that older toilets can use up to 12 gallons of water per flush.  After these two relatively large modifications, all that is really left is some common-sense water conservation habits such as turning the sink water off when not in use, particularly when brushing your teeth or washing your face.  Implemented correctly, proper water conservation methods performed in the bathroom can cause a tremendous reduction in the amount of water you use each year.

To be completely environmentally friendly in the bathroom, take a close look at what you are pouring into your drain.  For instance, simply keeping a drain cover over your drain to keep foreign objects out can reduce the chances that you will every have to use harmful, callous chemicals to clear a clog.  Preventative measures such as flushing your drains once a week with a quarter cup of baking soda mixed with boiling water and salt will keep them clear and draining quickly.

Finally, consider the lighting in your bathroom.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a lot of natural light coming into your bathroom through the windows you can be choosier about when you actually flick on the switch.  However, any bathroom will be much more energy efficient with the addition of energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs that are about 90% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs.  Fluorescent bulbs have the added safety bonus of being much less of a fire hazard than incandescent bulbs as well.  Make sure you have enough light in your bathroom that you can apply makeup and shave without squinting but isn’t so harsh that it makes your reflection unflattering. 

A Word on Eco-friendly Beds?

Even some people that utilize the most tenacious approach to energy conservation may overlook the fact that the materials used for their bedding can be just as eco-friendly as the thousands of other items in their homes. Due to the heightened ecological awareness in recent decades, manufacturers have made great strides in providing products created from recycled materials that are just as comfortable, pleasant, and beautiful (or even more so!) than products made from virgin resources. Additionally, many companies offer bedding material manufactured from all-natural organic materials that serve to greatly reduce the impact that their production has on the environment. Manufacturers are now able to utilize technology that enables them to recycle many post-consumer material and organic materials into viable, comfortable bedding materials that are fashionable, comfortable, and affordable.

Natural horse hair has been used in bedding materials for hundreds of years and many of the finest, most expensive and revered bedding manufacturers still utilize this all-natural source of material for their world-renowned mattresses. Now that many more ecological-conscious consumers are demanding eco-friendly alternatives to harsher manufacturing methods, the use of horse hair in mattresses and other bedding materials is becoming more abundant and thus, more affordable. One luxurious example of horse hair used in one of the finest mattresses produced in the world is made and distributed by Hasten. The queen-size bed is completely handmade and incorporates horse hair as well as other natural fibers that are ecologically-friendly.

More affordable alternatives are offered by many other manufacturers, however. The term “organic latex” is becoming more well-known in eco-friendly circles and refers to a foam sheet created from post-consumer rubber materials such as tires and other latex products. The extremely comfortable bedding material is wrapped in an all-natural, organic cotton fabric sleeve and is said to be much more comfortable than many traditional mattresses on the market today.

Since paper is one of the most recyclable resources on the planet, it only made sense for companies to look at this powerful component as one source of potential bedding material. Some companies that specialize in bedding materials for pets have looked to paper to make some very enticing products for your furry friends.

Eco-bedding™ is created out of 100% recycled paper materials from a proprietary, patented process that consists of meticulously folded and cut strips of paper. The resulting product is completely dust-free and hypoallergenic, which may be the perfect solution to many of the skin, eye, and ear conditions that afflict so many U.S. pets.



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