Gaining Efficiency in the Kitchen and Bath Without Losing Comfort

(ARA) – In every room of your home there are hidden places where efficiencies can impact your quality of life and your wallet. Energy, water and space are valuable commodities that every consumer has to make decisions about in the lifetime of home ownership and maintenance.

Heating and Cooling: Comfort and Cost Savings

In my home, I have a single-stage furnace and I’m wasting valuable energy and money on my energy bills. Like many homeowners, my furnace is either on or it’s off. It stands to reason that there are lots of days when I don’t need the full-on capacity because mild weather happens between seasons in every climate. Then there are times when my single-stage furnace can’t keep up with the changing weather outside and I’m either too hot or too cold.

Like heat zoning in a house, or dual-fuel options in a car, a furnace with different stages can save on energy resources. Two-stage furnaces offer two operating settings to allow the furnace to turn on high or low, and that low setting saves energy on milder days. By keeping the home’s temperature more consistent, homeowners can eliminate extreme swings that can happen as the furnace catches up with the weather outside. Two-stage furnaces are higher in initial cost, but can pay back their investment in up to eighteen months. After that, the savings start to pile up, even when our energy bills are seeing double-digit increases.

Similarly, most air conditioners available are single-stage models. But, there are now air conditioners available with two-compressors. With this second compressor, these units are able to save more energy and remove unwanted moisture from the air. This means less humidity so you can feel cooler and more comfortable. Plus, on extremely hot days, the second compressor will turn on so the unit can deliver a heightened level of cooling. American Standard has a two-compressor air conditioner that when combined with one of their two-stage furnaces offers a unique technology called Comfort-R, which provides ramped-up airflow so your house will get cooler faster.

Watch for the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) on the air conditioner unit, too. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the unit and the more money you will save. The American Standard Allegiance air conditioners have up to 18.9 SEER ratings, some of the highest in the industry, which can mean up to 56 percent annual fuel savings according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when compared to a unit with an 8.0 SEER rating.

So, what happens once you have the furnace and air conditioner you need to make your home comfortable and efficient? You need to bring it all together with a thermostat that’s easy to understand and operate. Nearly everyone has had those experiences where you stare at your thermostat, unsure of which buttons to push. Look for a thermostat that offers programmable features so you can set it and move on with your day. American Standard has an Ultimate Series programmable thermostat with a digital display that is easy to read and easy to program.

Lowest Flow: Saving Water

Toilet use is the highest volume of water used per day per person, even more than washing machines, showers or all the faucets in the home. Even after the EPA mandated low-flow or 1.6-gallons-per-flush toilets in the early 1990s, the average person still uses 18.5 gallons of water a day by flushing the toilet according to an American Water Works Association 1999 study.

For those looking to save more water, American Standard has introduced a 1.28-gallons-per-flush toilet called FloWise. This toilet reduces water usage by more than 20 percent, and those savings add up quickly on your monthly water bill.

But how does it work? Do you need to double flush like with some other high-efficiency toilets? Fortunately, the answer is no, because American Standard developed the FloWise around their revolutionary Champion flushing technology. This technology allows a smaller amount of water to perform a full flush by redesigning the flushing tower and waterways. With the same impressive 10-year warranty as the Champion toilet, the FloWise brings water efficiencies to homeowners never before available.

Kitchen Workstations: Saving Space and Time

The concept of setting up functional workstations in kitchens is the new hallmark of great design. Prep zones, baking stations and cleaning areas are just a few of the considerations homeowners tackle in home design. Most homeowners have limited amounts of space and need to efficiently fit as much functionality as possible into each area.

The real design tip here is flexibility. In my kitchen, the sink area has to function as the prep area as well as the cleanup station. Having multifunctional tools at your fingertips saves time and effort. One such workstation developed by American Standard takes the Lakeland large format single sink and converts it into a double sink with a removable second bowl. The Lakeland workstation features a colander, dish rack, grid and utensil holders and a bamboo cutting board. The sink area can now function as a sophisticated prep or cleaning area. All of the accessories can be stored under the sink in the accessories rack when not in use.

So, take a closer look in your own house and you might be surprised at the solutions you identify to create a more comfortable environment while saving time, money and resources like water and energy.

Courtesy of ARA Content