This is a guest post by Erik Braunitzer. If you want to guest post on this blog, see the guidelines here.
The current state of the environment may seem alarming, but the truth is that most households can make a significant contribution to reducing the burden on natural resources by simply following a few tips for conservation personal at home. The largest area of waste in most homes occurs in the kitchen. Families do not need to drastically change their practices. Here are a few tips for conserving natural resources in the kitchen of most homes. These small changes will benefit the environment and also create individual savings on utilities.
Optimizing the use of kitchen water
Simple changes in the kitchen such as adding a low-flow water faucet or including a stronger garbage disposal for grinding food scraps will benefit the environment. A slightly more expensive investment that will bring greater personal savings on utilities while contributing to overall conservation efforts is to install a new energy- and water-efficient dishwasher. Many falsely believe that the dishwasher uses more water than traditional hand washing, but the truth is most modern machines use less than a gallon of water for each cycle. The additional benefit of internal heating helps to reduce utility costs by ensuring that there is no heat lost due to the transfer of the water pipe from the heating unit to the kitchen. To expand the efficiency of a dishwasher even more, be sure to scrape all the dishes and run the machine only when it is full. Additional time savings can be achieved if the dishwasher door is left open after the cycle is completed because the high temperature of the water causes the water to evaporate if it can escape from the engine boundaries.
Real savings in lighting
We are all familiar with the rule of turning off the lights when we leave a room, but there are also ways to conserve electricity when using lights. The incandescent bulb is the oldest invention still in use in many homes, but it is quite inefficient compared to modern lighting technologies. CFLs and LEDs are now also available in standard incandescent socket sizes but use a fraction of the energy to produce the same level of light. Many are deterred by their high initial cost, but over time their energy savings far exceed the price of the bulb. Additional optimization in the kitchen can lead to a better use of energy to light the space. Many homes are designed with one centrally located light that is often a large fluorescent. By having a licensed electrician replace this lighting unit with a modular system that focuses light in specific work areas, one can easily reduce electricity costs to a fraction of their current levels.
Power star device
There are many energy efficient certification organizations that categorize consumer appliances for their use of electricity. The biggest savings that occur when investing in an energy efficient machine are usually seen in relation to appliances that are constantly running such as the refrigerator. While a smaller unit will automatically save you money, similar savings can be achieved by looking for a high Energy Star rating when making a purchase. The cooking surface of an electric stove is also another opportunity to save money by investing in an energy efficient model. However, propane is still an efficient way to cook, as many homes are equipped with gas, as long as the appliance is used efficiently as described by the manufacturer.
Cost and environmentally friendly remodeling
It is quite common for homeowners to want a new look for their kitchen cabinets, countertops and floors after a few years. Choosing materials that are sustainable can provide a fresh new look that is very durable and environmentally friendly. Instead of a complete replacement, refinishing the cabinet doors with new paint and replacing the hardware can reduce the cost of a new look while reducing overall materials waste.
Going “green” doesn’t have to compromise the level of comfort or efficiency in the home kitchen. Making small changes that incorporate highly efficient products will provide the same experience while contributing to the overall conservation efforts of the community. The initial investment may be a little higher than other options, but the long-term benefits of making a kitchen more energy efficient will reduce the environmental impact while fostering greater savings.
Erik Braunitzer gave Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, agents for New York City Real Estate.