Are you looking to upgrade your home with eco friendly products and materials? If so, you’re in luck! The Money Pit’s Tom Kraeutler joined me just in time for Earth Day to dish on the top trends in green technology and dished on five great eco friendly home improvement must haves that will not only add value to your home, but make it more energy efficient and secure!
Candace Rose: What are the latest trends in green technology?
Tom Kraeutler: “Well, there are a lot of cool products coming out from Earth Day on. This is when you start to see the most environmentally efficient, energy efficient money saving products.
So here’s one we can start with, this is a toilet (please see video above) from American Standard. It’s called the Champion 4 Max toilet. I like this because first of all it was awarded the maximum flush performance rating. It’s really powerful. In fact it’s so powerful, it candle a whole bucket full of golf balls, all the way in one flush. It also has an 80 microbial surface inside and a slow closed seat, so you’re never going to have that slam that wakes up the neighborhood so to speak. It’s very easy to install, no tools. Another thing that American Standard is doing that’s pretty cool is they’re donating a sanitary toilet pan for a developing country to use for every one of these that’s sold in the United States. Over 2,000 people die in developing countries every day because of toilet conditions, unsanitary conditions so they’re going to actually donate a sanitary toilet pan for every one of these that’s sold. It’s a great product and a great cause.”
Candace Rose: Heating and cooling make up a large percentage of our household energy budgets. How can we use less energy and save money and resources in the process?
Tom Kraeutler: “Well, a great place to start is with a good thermostat. Here’s a really cool high tech thermostat that just came out from Honeywell, it’s called the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. I like this for a couple reasons.First of all, it blends in with your home decor. This face plate will change colors to match your home decor, so red walls, blue walls, green walls…it will change colors so it matches those and blends in very nicely.
Secondly, you can operate this with a smartphone. So no matter where you are, you can simply adjust your temperature. If you left the house and you left the heat on or your coming home and you want to cool off the house in the summer with air conditioning, you can do it with your smartphone. It’s easy to install and it’s accurate within one degree (plus or minus one degree). So there’s a great product from Honeywell.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other green trends we need to know about?
Tom Kraeutler: “Yeah, there’s a lot going on in lighting right now. Of course the energy efficient light bulb, there’s been a lot of rapid changes in technology and this is a really technology that’s out from Cree. This is called the Cree LED long lasting efficient light bulb. The Cree LED bulb uses 84% less energy and it lasts 25 times longer. It delivers a very warm balanced light and the secret is the filament tower inside of this. It looks and lights just like an incandescent bulb. The price is great- the 40 watt is $9.97, the 60 watt which is the most popular bulb size in America is under $13, and they also have a daylight version that’s a dollar more (just under $14.00). And finally this is a safer bulb than compact fluorescents. It’s got a safety coating on the outside, so if the bulb breaks all the glass stays inside the bulb, it does not shatter at all. This bulb will last you 25,000 hours, and it’s got a 10 year consumer limited warranty.
The next on the lighting front, let’s talk about occupancy sensors. How many times have you heard this from a parent or used this as a parent to your kids- ‘Who left the lights on?’ Well, you can stop that once and for all if you install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch. The way that this works is the sensor technology will automatically turn the lights off after you leave the room and it will automatically turn them back on when you enter the room. It takes about 15 minutes to put this in and it works with all types of light bulbs. You can adjust the time delay to leave the lights on for as little as a minute or as much as 30 minutes after the room is exited. It’s a really great way to save energy and avoid those lights being on all day. There are two versions: The Occupancy Sensing Switch and also the Occupancy Sensing Switch with a dimmer. Both are from Lutron. The sensing switch is about $20, but add the dimmer and it’s about $40. Again, very easy installation. There’s actually an 800 number that you can call and they’ll walk you through it.
Lastly, let me tell you about a combination of a storm door and an entry door that can really step up your curb appeal. This is from Andersen doors (please see video above) and also Feather River. First of all, this is an Andersen storm door. This is one of their easy to install storm doors, it’s got a hands-free closer so you can basically keep it in place just like that, it’s also got a retractable screen, so you take the storm door, you drop it right down and there’s your screen just like that. If it gets a little chilly you can bring the storm door up just as easy. You combine that with a Feather River fiberglass door, it looks just like wood but it’s not…it’s fiberglass. And that means you don’t have the maintenance hassles of wood. It’s also five times more energy efficient and durable from a security perspective, and it’s got a sill key system in the jams which keeps that water from wicking up into the jams and that prevents rot. Here’s five great projects that you can tackle to make your home more energy efficient and more comfortable. If you want tips on these products and so much more, we have tips on our website: MoneyPit.com.”