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Green living in your Miller & Smith home (and 5 tips to make it even greener!)

Posted on February 22, 2022 by Miller and Smith Blog Team

Green seems to be 2022’s color of the year.

But a green home, of course, means more than just its color.

It’s about being more energy efficient, less wasteful, and better for the environment.

It means building a home while preserving the home of all of us: Earth.

Miller & Smith is proud to celebrate green living, both for its environmental benefits and continued cost savings to our homeowners.

These are some green features in Miller & Smith homes and five things you can do to make it even greener!

Miller & Smith Homes have many green features

Green homes provide peace of mind regarding your carbon footprint and energy consumption. And, as mentioned in the introduction, more cost savings through the life of the home. Though we’re going to highlight four of our homes and five green aspects of them, these features (and more!) are standard in all the homes we build.

Our Atwood homes, like those featured in the Tapestry community, ENERGY STAR®-rated programmable thermostats help keep homes at just the right temperature. That ENERGY STAR rating is important because it means our thermostats are independently certified using actual usage data. In other words, they are scientifically proven to save energy (and, by extension, money). The Atwood also comes with ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerators and dishwashers, for even more green living and green savings.

At Belmont Bay, Galleon homeowners can enjoy large windows with low-E glass. Windows let in light, sure, but they can also let in and out cold and heat—called heat transfer—and always when you don’t want them to. Low-E windows are designed to help your HVAC system work more efficiently.

The Clarion homes at The Retreat at Westfields feature FlowGuard Gold® CPVC pipes and fittings, resulting in cleaner water compared to copper. Virginia Tech researchers found that of all common plumbing materials, FlowGuard Gold CPVC has “the least impact on water quality.” Because of their long life and extreme durability, CPVC pipes are often used for commercial and industrial settings. Using these pipes for the homes we build means your plumbing will last longer. This saves water and, of course, money.

When building our Ranier homes in Cascades at Embrey Mill, we take great care in selecting lumber. We only use I-Level trusses and beams manufactured with sustainable forestry practices to reduce environmental impact. We cut these trusses and beams on site to reduce waste. Also, our floor and roof sheathing use oriented strand board, which is made from small and fast-growing trees. This reduces the overall demand for mature timber, thus preserving older trees. Because it’s the older trees that store the most carbon, produce the most oxygen, mitigate the most damage from stormwaters, and provide the most homes and food to local ecosystems.

5 tips to making your Miller & Smith home even greener

There are many tips and tricks for getting the most out of your energy efficient home. Here are five of the easiest and most effective ways to commit to green living:

1. Wash your laundry in cold water.

Approximately 90% of the energy used in cleaning clothes comes from heating water. So, to save energy, always use the coldest water you can. Most clothes will clean just fine in cold water, but for those that really need hot water, try switching to warm water instead. Even that little change (from hot to warm) can halve the energy used.

2. Clean your dryer lint screen.

Everyone knows that cleaning the lint screen of your dryer is important to reduce the risk of fire hazard, but that’s not the only reason to do it. Buildup on the lint screen impedes air flow, which reduces the energy efficiency of the dryer (and can reduce its overall lifespan). Get rid of the fuzzy lint, and, if you use dryer sheets, we recommend you give the screen a clean with a toothbrush once a month too. Dryer sheets can leave a hard-to-see film that also reduces the air flow.

3. Make the most of your dishwasher and refrigerator

We’ve mentioned how many of the appliances included in our homes are ENERGY STAR-rated to promote green living. But did you know that you can still get more energy efficiency out of them? It’s true. Basically, you just need to use each appliance in their ideal working conditions. Refrigerators (especially if you don’t open and close the door excessively) are actually more efficient when they are full of more food. All the food retains cold and lets the fridge maintain its temperature with less compressor used. Dishwashers also work more efficiently the fuller they are. That is, they use the same amount of water every time you run them, so having more dishes makes sure none of that cleaning power is going to waste.

4. Learn to compost.

According to the EPA, food scraps and yard waste make up over 30% of the stuff we throw away. But these could be easily turned into compost instead. Compost is a magical blend of decomposing organic material that is nutrient rich and works as both an all-natural soil conditioner and fertilizer. Composting also reduces methane production (a harmful greenhouse gas) compared to throwing out these ingredients. And best of all, you can use this delicious-to-plants compost to grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Basically, you’ll be turning old food into new food—for free!

5. Use power strips for better electrical control.

Just because you turn an electrical appliance off, doesn’t mean it stops using power. Some continue to draw current, wasting energy and your money. These power vampires cost us all collectively about $19 billion per year. By plugging electronics into power strips and turning the strips off when not in use, we could save lots of money on our electric bills and also prevent about 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution. Let power strips be the stake that gets rid of your power vampires for good!

To learn more about what goes into Miller & Smith’s energy efficient homes, take a behind-the-walls look here.