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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:
Refrigerators are huge energy hogs, but efficiency has improved dramatically in the past 15 years. If you can replace just one appliance, consider the fridge first.
An Energy Star-certified refrigerator costs about $30 more than a conventional unit but will generate savings of about $75 over the life of the appliance.
Idea 2:
Plastic-laminated countertops are bonded with toxic resins, so consider a more environmentally sensitive option. Traditional green countertop choices include natural linoleum or ceramic tile. Newer options include materials with recycled glass, paper and aluminum. Bamboo, a rapidly renewing resource, is also gaining popularity.
Prices vary considerably; from $40 to $140 per square foot.
Idea 3:
Many older cabinets have significant formaldehyde off-gassing -- even years after they've been installed. Consider using formaldehyde-free wood or wood from a rapidly renewing resource, such as bamboo.
Stock and custom cabinet costs vary widely, but expect to pay $300 to $1100 per cabinet, including accessories and trim.
Idea 4:
Avoid vinyl -- which has toxic manufacturing processes and produces off-gas chemicals -- in favor of greener products like bamboo, cork, natural linoleum or wood. Use underlayment material made of cork, synthetic latex or recycled materials.
Bamboo flooring costs $5 to $8 per square foot; cork flooring, $2 to 5 per square foot; and natural linoleum flooring, $4 to $7 per square foot, installed.
Idea 5:
Low-flow faucets
As in the bathroom, a low-flow faucet in the sink can help you cut your water usage.
$2 to $10 per aerator; some utility companies will offer them for free.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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