BBM Team

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How to Make your Home Smarter in 2016

As you usher in 2016, try these tips to ensure that your home sweet home remains your sanctuary in the New Year:

* Go green. Make a smart shift and adopt energy-efficient practices to bring down electricity bills. Fitting windows with double glass panes, direct shading devices such as pergolas and awnings, and low-e glazing enhance energy efficiency. Planned plantation helps shade roofs, windows and walls, bringing down temperatures by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius through evapo-transpiration. Switch to CFLs (use four times less energy and last eight times longer) or consider dimmers (dimming a light by 10 per cent more than doubles a bulb’s life) and motion sensors (for outdoor lighting). A solar heating system is a worthwhile investment. Make space for saplings and plants.


* Buy smart. Appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and TVs account for a big chunk of electricity bills. Check the age and condition, and replace when needed (check the efficiency rating). LCD TVs and monitors draw less power than CRT/plasma screens, and laptops can give annual energy savings of as much as 50 per cent over a desktop. Put your laptop to sleep each night, dust the coils behind your refrigerator (they use more energy if grimy), and unplug electronics when not in use to stop “phantom” energy draw.


* Conserve. The best place to start conserving water is home. Check all faucets and pipes for leaks (a small leak can waste 20 gallons per day), and ensure that you never let the tap run – whether you’re brushing or washing utensils. Switch to showers instead of baths, don’t throw tissue in the toilet (flushing trash wastes an additional 5-7 litres), and use the washing machine/dishwasher only for full loads. Install a low-flow (uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute) toilet and  showerheads, and low-flow faucet aerators to save gallons of water. A rain water harvesting system will pay dividends for years to come!


* Stay safe. Safety products ensure that your home remains your sanctuary. Choose from intrusion alarm systems (wired, wireless or hybrid), biometric fingerprint door locks (that allow you to open the door by pressing the sensor with your fingerprint), and video door phones. Hang the fire extinguisher in sight. Keep the outside well lit and inform neighbours when not in town. Inside the home, the bathroom is the number one accident-prone zone. Don’t forget grab bars and non-slip bath mats. Cleaners, acids and other possible toxic items should be stashed away safely.

disarming alarm system --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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