Energy-conscious and environmentally-friendly building materials are fast becoming the norm for most home buyers and builders. When consumer behavior turns the default choice for a product into a “green” one, that choice becomes more desirable for buyers and builders alike. Here’s a list of 10 must-have features for your next home.
You never see it — unless you spend significant time in your unfinished attic — but quality insulation thickly applied all over the house gives your utility bills a big break. Plus, it keeps your household comfortable during toasty Florida summers and rare winter cold.
Folding Patio Doors
If you’re building a new Florida home as your next home, you’ll want to include outdoor living spaces. Consider folding patio doors rather that French doors or glass sliders. Folding patio doors look like large window walls, but slide open on a track and tuck neatly into a narrow, vertical pleat. They’re not cheap, but they’re awesome space-savers.
Whole-House Vacuum System
This doesn’t mean everyone vacuums at once. It’s similar to behind-the-walls plumbing. Your next home could have pipes are installed room-to-room that connect with a central collection canister mounted in, say, the garage. A quiet, powerful motor (also out-of-sight) allows you to plug a hose and sweeper in special outlets in every room. No more lugging around a portable vacuum cleaner with its aggravating cords. Dust and dirt ends up in the easy-to-empty collection canister. You win!
Butcher-Block Kitchen Counters
How natural and renewable is wood? It’s been an ideal kitchen and bar surface for centuries, yet its timelessness is being rediscovered. Maple is the standard, while other hardwood varieties offer different coloration and grains.
They shimmer, gleam and make superb focal points. Use them in artful designs for a kitchen back-splash or a bathroom shower. Properly installed, glass tiles are impervious and low-maintenance. While we’re talking tile…
Heated Bathroom Floors
Yes, tile can be cold to bare feet. The solution is a radiant-heating system that’s easily installed under ceramic tile (don’t use glass tiles underfoot!). Today’s radiant-heating systems are made of wire-and-mesh mats that connect to a thermostat.
Tankless Water Heater
Instead of heating water (and your power bill) round-the-clock, a tankless heater does it on demand. You don’t have to wait on the traditional water heater to refill and reheat for the next round of showers and baths. The wall-mounted tankless version also fits handily in a closet and takes up a fraction of the space allotted to the traditional water heater.
If a tankless system isn’t your thing, one that speeds up the delivery of hot water, might be. Recirculating systems heat the water already in the system before water from the traditional heater arrives. No more wasting cold water while you wait for hot water to arrive at a faucet.
Instead of blasting you with mammoth amounts of a precious natural resource, these showerheads cheat! They do it by using air to amply the effect of less water — one gallon a minute rather than a whopping 3.5 gallons. You get clean. Your water bill gets smaller.
Rather than the one-flush-fits-all models, a dual-flush toilet offers two choices. One button uses more water to flush. The other button uses less water. A dual-flush toilet is another way to lower your water bill and cleanse your environmental conscience.
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