Twelve Energy Saving Tips

Tired of spending WAY too much money on electric bills? Trying to “save the planet”? Regardless of what your motivation is, we are almost all trying to be more efficient in our energy use these days. If you live in a apartment, you might will not be able to do all of these suggestions, but here are “12 Green Ideas for Your Home”

1. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to10 times longer! If every household in the U.S. changed just five of their most frequently used light fixture bulbs to CFLs, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million cars.

2. Reduce, reuse, and recycle—recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, when going to the store, consider bagging your own groceries in cloth, reusable bags.

3. Fix leaks—faucets that leak flow at a rate of one drip per second and can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year, while  a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons a day!

4. Turn off the water! The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. So, turn off the faucet while brushing teeth. Doing so each morning and evening can save up to 8 gallons per day and 240 gallons a month!

5. Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom instead of hosing it down with water. You’ll save at least 80 gallons of water every time.

6. Use your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full. The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons per load.Try to avoid small, partial loads–and always use the proper load size selection—using large settings only when necessary.

7. Heat and cool efficiently—as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to these tasks. Be sure to change your air filter regularly, tune up your HVAC equiptment yearly, and seal your house thoroughly. In the summer raise your thermostat two degrees. In the winter lower your thermostat two degrees.

8. Install a programmable thermostat to better regulate the temperature in your house through the day and night. Using a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs and help the environment.

9. Consider replacing your appliances (or those you buy from now on) with ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-15 percent less energy and water than standard models.

10. Water Heater Temperature Settings: Setting the water heater at a lower temperature can save 5-10 percent of the energy bill. If the house does not have a dishwasher, the water heater should be set as low as possible and still maintain sufficient hot water for your family. Most fabrics do not require a high temperature during laundering either.

11. Ceiling Fans: In the summer, the fan should run at high speed to provide the desired breeze. Note that most ceiling fans are reversible. One direction is appropriate for summer while the other is for winter.

12. Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape; only water when needed and do it during the coolest  part of the day—early morning is best.

Source: http://www.epa.gov

Courtesy of: http://www.usinspect.com

IKEA Partners With IdeaBox to Create PreFab Home!

IKEA has reportedly teamed up with Ideabox, the Oregon based home designer, to create a pre-fabricated home packed with Ikea’s Swedish-style furniture, appliance and flooring.*

IdeaBox’s “Aktiv” model is a 1 bed, 1 bath 745 sqft. “euro designer flat” outfitted top to bottom with IKEA furniture and materials and typically priced at $86,500. According to IdeaBox, “it’s a house designed to live in… with all the fun. function, and practicality found in every ideabox!”
(Credit: IdeaBox)

Fortunately, it does not arrive as a truckload of long, flat-pack cardboard boxes that anyone who has purchased furniture at IKEA before is familiar with. Instead it will be delivered in just a couple of large pieces by semi.

As someone who has dealt numerous times with the frustrations of assembling a piece of IKEA furniture, this statement by Amanda Kooser, of CNET, had me laughing uncontrollably. She said that this home is a “sweet proposition for anyone who’s ever dreamed about moving into an IKEA store–or a nightmare for anyone who’s spent hours trying to assemble an IKEA dresser only to have it come out looking like a bookcase.”

Would this work in Austin? I think many people in Austin would identify with IdeaBox’s eco-friendly approach used with their customer base in Oregon. The compact home incorporates no hallways and numerous green materials and features such as VOC-free paint, low-flow pluming, a tankless water heater, fiber cement siding, and Energy Star appliances.

That being said, good luck, finding affordable places to build these homes without finding a way to convert them to multi-level condos. I foresee Austin to continue to go Green with tear-downs and new construction, but do not think that these kind of pre-fab homes will be the route to take us there.

Questions about green housing? Let me know and I would be happy to help!

*IKEA released a statement today that said “IKEA has not launched and is not selling prefabricated homes in the United States.” This is rather a collaboration between IdeaBox and IKEA Portland to furnish these homes with IKEA products.

Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR®
Keller Williams Realty
m: 512-636-9707
e: KylePfaffe@KW.com
w: AustinHomes4You.com