Posts tagged Green Kitchen Design

Top Tips for a Healthier Home

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You can learn to live green by adopting new habits and ideas that not only reduce the impact our lifestyles have on our planet, but create a healthier home environment. Here are some easy tips for living green in your new home:

Use ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans are far more energy efficient, economical, and quieter than air-conditioning units and they can cool almost any home if placed properly. It’s a good idea to put one above each bed for comfortable sleeping. A much overlooked but practical space for a ceiling fan is in the stairwell because it assists with the overall cooling of your home and in the winter you can reverse the blade direction to help keep warm air on the main floor.

Install a clothesline or drying station.
Give your dryer a vacation by installing a clothesline (either the traditional long line or the more compact umbrella style) or incorporating a drying station in your laundry room design. If you like the idea of fast, free and fresh drying, but are concerned with the crisp texture of line drying, simply soften towels, socks and jeans with a 5-minute tumble in the dryer.

Build and decorate with natural materials.
You’ll find that there are lots of eco-friendly products to choose from when you begin building your new home. The more natural products that go into building your home, the healthier it will be. One product that is hard to overlook is wood. Wood floors will keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
Maintain and clean your home daily by using eco-friendly cleaning products. One of the most basic cleaning products are vinegar and baking soda, but thanks to most cleaning manufactures offering a green line of products, you can choose from a variety of your favorite brands.

Use your windows for more than a view.
Be sure that your windows are designed properly because by controlling the size and location you can effectively manage the amount of light and heat they let inside during different times of the day. Simple steps like drawing the blinds or curtains on a hot day to keep the cool air in and hot air out or opening opposing windows so air flows more efficiently can greatly reduce energy costs.

Control your lighting.
One of the easiest things you can do to save on energy costs is to install CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). Another great idea is to use dimmers because you not only can control the look and ambiance of a room but the energy savings are great. Dimmers will double the life of your bulb and use less wattage. You can enjoy multiple uses in one room, by selecting different fixtures with dimmers. And if you have children, sensors are a great way to be sure lights aren’t left turned on.

Put your house to bed.
Make putting your house to bed a nightly routine, which includes turning off all lights and lamps (nightlights work great in hallways), turn off all electronics, check that all major appliances are shut down properly and lower your HVAC.

Enjoy browsing our collection of green designs, as well as reading about building green and ENERGY STAR in our green building guide.

Homes Designed With A Mother's Touch

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With Mother’s Day around the corner it is only fitting that we recognize the women who truly make a house a home. From the cozy living room filled with pictures and keepsakes to the sweet smells of a home cooked dinner in a well-designed kitchen to the worn rocking chair in the corner of a master suite overlooking the backyard – these are just a few of the special rooms that mother’s love to spend their time in.

It is no surprise that when it comes to building a home and selecting a house plan that over 60% of house plans are bought by woman. They know how much space they need in their new home to make it functional, yet appeal to their tastes. They know exactly what they need – a large kitchen with cooking area and breakfast counter, a large dining room for special occasions, an open floor plan with lots of room to makes changes down the road and an outdoor living space to host birthday parties. Every mother needs and wants more than one full bathroom so they can expedite their mornings with the kids and privately pamper themselves at night.

Our latest issue of Dream Designs is a nod to our female designers, who have taken their motherly instincts to the drawing board to create some of the most beautiful and practical house plans in our collection.

Incorporating Green Appliances Into an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

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Most energy usage in the home is consumed in the kitchen. Refrigerators, freezers, ovens, stove-tops, and dishwashers prove to be the biggest energy consumers in the home.

While this will most likely not change, there are many things that can be done to substantially reduce the amount of energy used by these kitchen appliances. Many companies are quickly designing green kitchen appliances to reduce the carbon footprint produced in the kitchen.

Refrigerators and freezers use the most energy in a home because they are constantly kept running. By using a refrigerator with the freezer on top or on bottom, instead of on the side, energy consumption can be reduced by ten percent. Those models that have an ice-maker installed on the door also tend to use more energy.

Chest freezers are also the most energy efficient design choice. Many companies, like Sun Frost, now manufacture the most energy efficient refrigerators that have ever been made. They are so energy efficient that they work wonderfully in homes that are solar powered or have a low output energy source. A built-in bottom fridge/freezer made by Bosch reduces energy consumption with an alarm that indicates when the door is ajar.

Cook-top stoves and ovens are also large energy users in the home. Gas is the most energy efficient option because it is easier to control the temperature and can be instantly turned on or off. When using an electric cook-top, those that use induction elements are the best option followed by ceramic-glass surfaces using halogen elements as a source of heat.

Ovens are also becoming more efficient with the addition of electronic ignition systems, saving 30% more energy than the older models. By using green kitchen appliances that are a combination of two separate appliances, such as full size ovens with a smaller toaster oven attached, can save enormous amounts of energy. Solar ovens are also becoming more popular in eco-friendly kitchens.

Newer dishwasher models can also reduce energy and water consumption by using less than half of the water it would take to wash the dishes by hand. Many of these models also offer an air dry option which reduces the amount of electricity used.

The drawer dishwasher model manufactured by KitchenAid offers the best performance within a smaller space allowing it to be 97% more efficient than a typical model. In order to conserve the most resources and reduce air pollution, it is essential to purchase Energy Star products for the kitchen. The annual cost to run just a few of these green kitchen appliances can be reduced by up to thirty percent.

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