Housing trend: downsize in space, upgrade in quality of life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Housing trend: downsize in space, upgrade in quality of life

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(ARA) - Smaller homes equal better quality of living these days. Many homeowners are downsizing the space they occupy, but are upgrading and customizing that space to make it better fit their lifestyle.

Most homeowners today prefer an energy-efficient home with lower utility bills, rather than a cheaper home without energy- and water-efficient features, according to a recent National Association of Home Builders' survey. One way to refresh your home, and make it sustainable is to upgrade your bathroom fixtures.

Comfort is still key in these downsized but upgraded bathrooms. And it can't get much better than a lavish shower. TOTO's Aimes Ceiling-Mount Showerhead with LED Lighting gives you this luxurious shower experience with water gently cascading down on you from the ceiling. But since the LED light doesn't require any electricity or batteries, you can enjoy the experience even more. Kinetic energy created by the moving water powers the candlelight-toned light, keeping the brightness gentle on your eyes and flattering to your skin.

But don't stop with just electrical savings in your bathroom. If you haven't replaced your toilet in several years, there's a very good chance that it uses way more water per flush than needed. On average, toilets account for about 27 percent of a home's indoor water usage, making them the biggest water hogs.

High-efficiency toilets can help your family significantly reduce your water consumption. TOTO's Carlyle II One-Piece High-Efficiency Toilet uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush - and it's high performance, which means you only need to flush once to completely remove waste from the bowl. With an attractive design, this is a great upgrade to your home, both in water efficiency and aesthetics.

While concentrating on making your bathroom more water-efficient, also take a look at your faucet. If it's been several years since you replaced your faucet, it's probably showing its age with metal corrosion or leaking. A leaky faucet with a slow drip can waste as much as five to 10 gallons per day; a fast drip results in 20 to 30 gallons of water down the drain daily. In a small bathroom space, consider replacing your outdated faucet with TOTO's Upton Single Handle High-Efficiency Lavatory Faucet. Its tall, sleek, contemporary design works perfectly with vessel lavatories that complement smaller bath spaces. But the best feature is that the faucet only uses 1.5 gallons of water per minute, making it EPA WaterSense certified.

Your water heater also may need updating. Tankless water heaters are 10 to 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional storage water heaters, according to National Geographic's "Is Your Home a 'Green' House?" Even new conventional models can reduce the amount of energy you spend heating water. And there are other devices you can install with your water pipes to help recirculate standing water in the pipes, so you don't waste water waiting for the hot water to finally arrive at the faucet. An instant hot shower also keeps family members happy on those chilly winter mornings - and saves money on your water bill.

Quality is very important to homeowners these days, and developing a beautiful, energy-efficient bathroom - especially in today's downsized and upgraded spaces - is a growing trend among homeowners that's helping them improve their quality of life.