Upgrade Or Repair Your Home With Eco-Friendly Products

Despite all the media attention, buying well-made, affordable products that are also environmentally sound is still a difficult task. Kiplinger’s “Shopping Guide to Eco-Friendly Products” offers several suggestions to help you buy green and get a solid deal on major appliances, lawn care, building supplies, and home maintenance.

For washing machines, they recommend a few Kenmore and Bosch models. None are cheap, but if energy costs remain high, the prices start to look a lot more reasonable when your new washer is 60% more efficient than older models. For toilets, replacing one “made between 1980 and 1994 and you could save as much as $90 a year.” If you have a natural-gas furnace that’s 15 years old, you can see huge savings (“about $32 per $100 of annual fuel costs”) if you spend the extra $1000 for a new one that’s 95% efficient.

They also suggest looking at VOC-free interior paints like Yolo Colorhouse. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, contribute to smog and can also aggravate allergies or respiratory ailments. And if you’re looking to replace any countertops, you can check out a few brands made from recycled materials, like IceStone or PaperStone (see article for more information).

“A Shopping Guide to Eco-Friendly Products” [Kiplinger’s]
(Photo: MShades)

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  1. Jamie Beckland says:

    As an aside, I would be interested to know if EnergyStar certification levels affect the ‘standard’ energy efficiency – that is, are the standards looser than they would otherwise be, so that more products quality for EnergyStar status. A little too lazy, and a lot too busy to do the research myself, but would love to know more about this.

  2. FLConsumer says:

    EnergyStar certification just means the appliance performs better than the minimum Federally-mandated efficiency standards. In many cases, this is low hanging fruit. If you do poke around their website, you can find actual #’s which will allow you to determine who truly is making a highly efficient appliance and who is just cutting a few corners to get the certification.

    ALSO, some of the changes being made in the name of efficiency are at the expense of longevity. For example, many of the highest efficiency/highest SEER rated air conditioners try to save electricity by shutting off their crankcase heaters. Sure, you’re saving money by shutting it off, probably $20/year, BUT you’re also shortening the life of the compressor by letting the oil thicken up when the heater’s shut off. Good chance that a replacement compressor’s going to cost more than the $200/10 years you’re going to save.