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The Better Homes and Gardens & Green Works™ 2008 Living Green Tour traveled to 15 home-and-garden shows across the country, showcasing innovative, earth-friendly options for real homes. Designed by interior designer Libby Langdon, the exhibit featured inspiring eco-friendly living spaces including a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and laundry room.
The kitchen's cabinetry resembled maple or birch, but it was actually crafted from bamboo, a grass that's attractive, durable, and quickly renewable. Bamboo has gained popularity for flooring, and for home textiles such as towels and bedding. The exhibit's triple-paned Pella windows featured built-in shades, which can be lowered in the summer and raised in the winter to control heat from the sun.
The bathroom in the Living Green exhibit proved that it's possible to buy efficient fixtures without sacrificing performance. Kohler's MasterShower Ecofficient shower head provides 20 percent reduction in water consumption without sacrificing shower performance. The floor was made of renewable and easy-on-the-feet cork, which is harvested without harm to the trees or their habitats.
Living Green Tour Tips: Water is a natural resource that's often taken for granted but population growth is straining supplies across the country. You can save water at home by taking a few simple steps:
-- Turn off the tap when you're brushing your teeth or shaving.
-- Install faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads.
-- Take a brief shower rather than a bath.
-- When replacing a toilet, look for a WaterSense-labeled one. These have been certified to use 20 percent less water while still performing well.
Instead of buying new furniture and housewares, look for secondhand or antique items and refurbish, or find creative new uses for pieces you already own. This will save resources such as trees and will often save you money as well. The vanity in the Living Green exhibit was crafted from a salvaged dresser and the mirror was framed in wood from the dresser's top.
Eco-friendly upholstered furniture, like these beauties from Lee Industries, are available in mainstream stores. Look for domestically manufactured furniture with frames that are built of certified sustainable wood with natural-fiber cushioning and fabrics.
The Better Homes and Gardens & Green Works™ Living Green exhibit was well-lit with efficient compact florescent bulbs. Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents and you'll consume about 75 percent less electricity and the bulbs will last up to 10 times longer (10,000 hours as opposed to 1,500). Replace one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL and it translates to $83 over the life of the bulb!
An Energy Star®-qualified washer, like the Bosch model featured in the Living Green tour, can save you $550 in operating costs over its lifetime compared to a regular clothes washer. Save energy by using your clothes dryer less frequently and your clothesline more often. Consider replacing your conventional water heater with a hot-water-on-demand tankless water heater (about $800) to save 50 percent in operating costs.
Title Sponsor: Green Works natural cleaners http://www.greenworkscleaners.com
Presenting Sponsor: Pella Windows http://web.pella.com
-- Bosch http://www.boschappliances.com
-- Kohler http://www.us.kohler.com
-- LEE Furniture/Natural LEE http://www.naturallee.com
FULL YEAR just $5.99