For today’s architects and new homebuilders, the amazing advancements in technology and design offer an unprecedented wealth of amenities and efficiency options that can be included in new home construction. Some of the latest innovations are designed to be eco-friendly and save energy and resources, others are added for comfort and convenience, while some are just plain fun.

Save time and money with enhancements installed during the building process rather than paying more to have them installed at a later date.

The Modern Bathroom

An eco-friendly toilet is a stylish compliment to the modern bathroom. Choose from sleekly designed models that feature motion activation seats and lids, deodorizing no-odor charcoal filters, multi-option bidets and heated air dryers. If you want all the “bells and whistles” add a built in foot warmer and moisture-proof speakers to play your favorite melodies or the morning news via a remote wireless mirror docking station.

A heated tile bathroom floor offers welcome warmth during cold mid-western winters. Heat elements placed under the tile installation can be controlled by a wireless remote temperature control. Visit your electrical contractors showroom for inspiration and information on additional luxury options including lighted anti-fog mirrors, heated towel racks and digitally controlled aroma therapy essential oil diffusers for shower or tub.

How about a flat screen TV for the bathroom that converts to a stylish mirror when not in use?

Are you worried about the amount of your family’s water usage? Digital shower controls designed to help conserve water, exhibit a green blinking light when the user exceeds 2 minutes of water consumption and a red light then reminds you that you have used more than your fair share. Safety features include precisely set controls and temperature adjustments to prevent pressure fluctuations of scalding or freezing cold water.

Feeling lazy? Draw your bath water with a click of an app on your cell phone or tablet. Electronic water flow meters control temperature and tub water volume. Feel more like a shower? Pamper yourself with multiple pressured massaging shower jets installed to fit your personal height and body frame.

After a hard day at the office or a strenuous workout, nothing feels better than relaxing in your own private home sauna or steam room. Let your imagination run wild. If you can dream of a creature comfort that you would like in your personal space, it is likely your architect or building contractor can locate and install appliances, gadgets or gizmos to satisfy your most hedonistic desires.

Consider adding a skylight to brighten bathroom space equipped with a solar charged exhaust fan that is automatically activated by humidity or temperature.

Home Interior Temperature Controls

Traditional thermostats waste energy, cooling and heating your home when no one is home. A wirelessly controlled digital thermostat system controls the home by zones, keeping bedrooms and unused rooms or storage space cooler, while family living space stay toasty warm. The latest technology reminds you to turn down the thermostat before you leave the house. If you forget, no problem, built in automatic features will do it for you based on a preset programmable time schedule. Should you decide to come home early from a business trip or vacation, an app on your cell phone can call ahead and turn on the heat or air conditioning systems.

Air Quality

Talk to your heating and air conditioning contractor for information about the many different electronic air filtration systems available if your family has problems with dust or seasonal allergies. If dry winter air is a problem, a system wide humidifier will let everyone in the family breathe easier.

Laundry Room Amenities

The latest technology to change the way we do laundry includes a waterless washing machine that uses recyclable polymer pellets to absorb the soil, grease and grime in the dirtiest of clothing. Because water usage is one of the highest consumptions of energy, eco-conscious homeowners are flocking to include a waterless washing machine in their laundry room installation plans.

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Keeping a house cool in the summer and warm in the winter on the cheap is not the easiest place to cut back when budgeting. But, on top of preventing your wallet from shrinking, there is even more reason to preserve energy on heating and cooling your house: the environment. The amount of energy your house uses affects the environment just as much as your wallet and is well worth investing time and effort into to prevent higher usage than necessary.

Below are a few tips to save on energy whether it’s winter or summer:

Make the most of your windows – Opening windows means more sunlight to keep your house warmer in the winter and more breezes to keep your home cool in the summer. Investing in thermal curtains will help you maintain temperatures within the house. Keep curtains open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to keep out the chill during the colder to months. In the warmer months keep them closed during the day to keep out the heat and open at night to let in the cooler breeze.

Know where your weak spots are – Having a home energy audit performed will show you exactly where energy is being lost in your home. This will allow you to make smart upgrades in your home where it really counts.

Stop leaks in their tracks – Storm windows are great for the winter and, believe it or not, summer months too. The space between the windows keeps warmth in during the colder months and heat out in the warmer months. Draught-stoppers, cheap and easy to DIY, is also a great way to preserve the desired temperature in your home. Another easy to install option to save on energy is weather stripping your doors and windows.

Check your ratings – R-value is a rating scale of an insulation’s ability to prevent heat flow. The higher the R-value the more efficient the insulation. Living in New England you will want to look for a higher R-value in the type of insulation you invest in. Since heat rises you will want to use insulation with a higher R-value on the top floors of your house than those on your lowers floors.

Be a control freak – Installing an easy to use programmable thermostat is a great way to manage the temperature in your home. Set up timers that keep your home warmer while you are awake and at home in the winter months and set to a lower temperature while you are out for the day or asleep for the night. In the summer set up your timer to keep your home cooler while you are home and to use less energy while you are out of the house for the day.

While it takes an investment of time and money upfront ensuring that your home efficiently uses energy when cooling and heating your house will benefit you for years to come. One of the great perks to being frugal about your home’s energy usage is that it will also shrink your impact on the environment. With perks like that, you can’t lose!

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