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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green tomorrows
A penny of prevention is worth a dollar of cure.
Green tomorrows
  Green remodeling
Idea 1:
Low-flow faucets
A typical faucet can churn out more than 5 gallons a minute -- but since you probably don't need nearly that much to brush your teeth, consider a faucet that uses half -- or even a quarter -- as much.
$2-$10 per aerator; some utility companies will offer them for free. Using low-flow faucets and showerheads can cut your home's water use by 50 percent.
Idea 2:
Water-efficient showerheads
Showerheads pump out up to 8 gallons a minute, and low-flow showerheads can slice that by more than half -- and you'll hardly notice a difference. An aerating showerhead mixes air into the water stream while maintaining steady pressure; a nonaerating showerhead provides a massaging showerhead effect.
Aerating models cost $5 to $10; $10 to $50 for non-aerating varieties. Along with low-flow faucets, you may cut your water use by up to 50 percent.
Idea 3:
Glass and ceramic floor tiles
Durable and easy to clean glass and ceramic tiles are a good replacement for old linoleum and vinyl flooring. They typically have a longer life span than linoleum and vinyl, and you can buy tiles with significant recycled content.
Ceramic tiles made of recycled materials cost about the same as midrange conventional ceramic tile. Glass tile with recycled materials starts at about $30 a square foot.
Idea 4:
Nontoxic grout sealer and caulk
Try to use unsanded grout, which is difficult for mold to cling to and will ensure better air quality; a grout sealer will increase the grout's lifespan and make it simpler to clean.
$6 to $20.
Idea 5:
Proper venting can help prevent toxic mold and mildew -- and will allow you to keep your green upgrades many years into the future.
$30 to $200.
Idea 6:
Instantaneous, tankless water heaters
Unlike traditional methods that keep up to 80 gallons of hot water ready at all times, instantaneous water heaters produce it only when it's needed, reducing the costs of heat leakage from the tank.
$300 to $1,500 with savings of up to $150 a year.
Idea 7:
Dual-flush toilets
A typical toilet uses nearly 3 gallons of water a flush; low-flow toilets use about half that. But a dual-flush toilet can use even less than a low-flow toilet. With one button for liquid waste (0.8 gallons) and one for solid (1.6 gallons), a dual flush toilet can further reduce water usage.
$200 to $600, with savings of up to 10,000 gallons of water per year.
-- Posted: Oct 4, 2007
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