Q: What are some green technology tips for the home?
A: A flow restrictor in the kitchen sink. The restrictor works like a motion detector in a room. These flow restrictors let water flow very easily for two to three minutes and then they shut off the flow. It conserves massive amounts of water.
[When you first turn on the shower and try to set the water temperature] during the adjustment period there’s a lot of wasted water. Why not install a shower control system? Put four presets in it. So that four members of a family can use it.
To install a flow restrictor today, [consumers] have to go to a water engineer. There are specialty stores that do this kind of energy.
Q: What’s the most cost effective green home improvement tip?
A: Really well insulated walls and windows. They trap heat. Most of what we spend money on is losing heat somehow. Even if windows cost a little more, I haven’t seen a drop in fuel prices. If you can slow that curve down, put in more energy efficient windows and doors.
There are all kinds of retrofit programs. You can get tax credits for doing that. Some states provide loans for doing that. I think you can save on a home that has new windows, double seals. You can save minimally 15 percent of an energy bill. [Homeowners] were saving 25-30 percent of an energy bill. It wasn’t a lot when fuel oil was 69 cents a gallon but now that it’s $3.49 a gallon it is. I own a home in New York [state] with a fuel tank that’s 275 gallons. I just spent $830 filling it up.
[With new windows you can] save $6000 over five years. In the seventh year you’re just pocketing $1200 a year saved.
April 2, 2008.