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Home ‘eco’-nomics

Of the 13 recessions since the Great Depression, none has presented a combination of length, breadth and depth more significant than that of the current economic downturn. However, there is a bit of a bright spot among all of the doom and gloom. But perhaps it should be called a “green” spot.

While many expected American consumers to lose interest in the green movement, what has surfaced is a new pragmatism about the environment that embraces restraint, simplicity and cost-savings. As a result, consumers are re-evaluating what green really means.

“Today’s green consumers are really savvy. They’re now smarter about what they buy and they’re looking for a direct return on investment through energy and utility savings,” says Jack Suvak, senior director of research and insights at Moen.

Home is where it all begins
From organic produce to low-phosphate detergents, home is the heart of all things green. Whatever touches the kitchen and bath has become the first place for consumer evaluation and potential adoption.

Fortunately, the kitchen is one area where consumers have the most options for sustainable products that have the most cost saving opportunity. From ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances to green cleaning, homeowners have a virtual eco-wonderland of possibilities.

* Awesome appliances. ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances offer the benefits of efficiency, features and convenience. For example, new models of refrigerators that have earned ENERGY STAR qualifications are 40 percent more energy efficient than conventional refrigerators sold in 2001.

* Green cleaning. If scrubbing pots and pans makes you want to throw in the towel, pick up a natural sponge instead. Scotch-Brite’s Greener Clean Natural Fiber Scrub Sponges and Scour Pads are new dish scrubbers, made from the agave plant, that are tough enough to remove dried-on food, but gentle enough to use on delicate surfaces – like non-stick pans – without scratching.

* Sustainable spout. While homeowners are concerned about saving water, the thought of waiting at the kitchen sink to fill a pot or pitcher is not very appealing. Fortunately, the new Lindley Eco-Performance kitchen faucet from Moen is the first in the kitchen category to offer a water-saving faucet that still provides exceptional performance.

Users can easily switch between three unique water flow settings: 1. eco-performance aerated stream (set/default setting); 2. eco-performance spray and 3. full flow.

You’ve heard the sustainable tips for the bathroom: take shorter showers, turn off styling items when they’re not in use, and so on. But there are some new green items for the bath that will help you be more efficient, without giving it a second thought.

* Let there be light. A little extra light is always needed in the bathroom, but that doesn’t mean you need to be wasteful. While compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cost a bit more than traditional light bulbs, they will save more than $40 in electricity costs over their lifetime, and use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs – all while lasting up to 10 times as long.

* Shower power. It’s the place where you waken your senses; or relax and unwind. While “green” and “shower” might not be words typically associated with each other; there are new products that combine exceptional performance with water-saving benefits. The Envi Eco-Performance rainshower from Moen features innovative Immersion technology – a self-pressurizing system that increases the force and flow of water delivery, while offering a flow rate of 2 gallons per minute.

“The green landscape of consumer products can definitely be overwhelming – the volume of green products available to U.S. consumers increased by 73 percent between 2009 and 2010 alone,” explains Suvak. “But by making smart choices and selecting products from brands they trust, homeowners today can have it all – cost-effective, no-sacrifice solutions that deliver on their sustainable promises.” For more information about sustainable products from Moen, visit moen.com/eco-performance.

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