Green living plus green savings: an efficient equation for today's homeowners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Green living plus green savings: an efficient equation for today's homeowners

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(ARA) - Across the nation, both building professionals and consumers are embracing the idea of sustainable building practices. This practice follows a process that is environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building's life cycle: from design to construction, operation to maintenance and renovation, to eventually, demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability and comfort.

Green building brings together a vast array of practices and techniques to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. It often emphasizes taking advantage of renewable resources, such as using sunlight to generate solar power and using plants to reduce rainwater run-off.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the demand for green homes is expected to rise 900 percent in the next five years.

In the home, using energy efficient appliances can dramatically reduce energy waste and cut costs. Companies like Miele offer a wide range of Energy Star rated appliances for every room in the house from the kitchen to the laundry room.

For example, Miele offers induction cooktops, which use a non-contact method of heating using magnetic fields to transfer energy directly to cookware. The induction element stays cool, while the target object heats up rapidly for extremely efficient cooking. Like gas, induction is exceptionally easy and quick to control. The ability to precisely control the power makes induction perfect for all types of cooking. It is highly reactive and exceedingly safe. The cooking surface is cool in operation and only generates heat where the pan sits on it. As soon as the pan is removed, the flow of heat stops immediately.

For more information on the various types of energy efficient appliances available, visit www.mieleusa.com.

Young, savvy, environmentally-conscious consumers are at the forefront of the green movement. Programs like the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon allows this demographic to create and design an energy efficient home.

The Solar Decathlon is a program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. This year's winner was the University of Maryland Team Watershed.

"We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Miele on our entry into the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition," says Brian Grieb, University of Maryland Team WaterShed's faculty project manager. "Miele has a reputation for providing elegantly designed, environmentally conscious, cost-efficient products that are constructed with longevity in mind. These attributes are exactly the qualities we were seeking to include in the WaterShed home."