People are moving in droves to smarter, more energy-efficient living, such as upgrading home appliances and décor. Even small improvements can lead to a big difference in your home’s energy-use. Some of these upgrades are incredibly easy and low cost investments, such as replacing old light bulbs for LED bulbs. Additionally, an increasing number of appliances can be controlled wirelessly, saving homeowners on their electric bills.
Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri are the popular co-hosts of HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, and the upcoming new show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens. These New Jersey-born first cousins are known for taking numerous disastrous kitchens across the country and bringing them back to life in a big way. Recently I had the opportunity to chat with this lively duo and to hear their tips for energy efficient home upgrades. The conversation was particularly timely, as we are currently considering our own kitchen re-do in my home.
The cousins typically look for natural light sources and functional, usable spaces. They tend to be preservation-minded, and when it comes to conservation, they note that even small changes can make a big difference.
Builders and entrepreneurs in their own right, the cousins’ most recent partnership is with Cree, a manufacturer of LED bulbs.
A Cree LED bulb gives you 25,000 hours of light, which is 25 times longer than the 1,000 hour average lifetime of a typical incandescent bulb. Not only will this save you on energy use, it will spare your wallet as well. On average a home will save $350 a year by making the switch. Since the bulbs have a 10 year warrantee, that is a lifetime savings of about $3,500 just for switching your home’s light bulbs. So small changes really can make a big difference.
According to the cousins, the other big energy-efficient home upgrade that homeowners can make right now is to automate their home. The connected home is a hot topic right now. We can check our thermostat, smoke alarm, electrical outlets, and lighting all from an app on our phones.
Automation can give the illusion of being home even when you are not there. It can save you money and give you security. Think you have forgotten to shut off the iron (again)? With an automated household, you can double check that right from your phone. These systems can even plug into outlets for your small countertop appliances, and can give power to or take power away from a specific device. Some HUBs even know when you have left your home, and will shut off your appliances accordingly.
The best news is that it is easy to set this up. There is a one-time fee, and no contractors are needed. That is my kind of change! (Though the Kitchen Cousins are welcome to visit Bucks County any old time they feel like it.)
If, like me, you are thinking of upgrading your kitchen any time soon, the cousins suggest using caution with regards to products that are not certified. Seek out the Energy-Star label. Look for insulations that are formaldehyde-free, and if you are using hardwood, look for one that is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
Have you automated your home, or made energy-efficient upgrades yet?
Thanks to the Kitchen Cousins on behalf of Cree LED light bulbs. For more information, visit CreeBulb.com.