Products for a Sustainable Kitchen 

Going eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch and do everything at once. Slowly replacing items in your home for more sustainable versions is something we can all do without getting overwhelmed.

Any changes made toward an eco-conscious home are steps in the right direction, benefiting both the environment and your personal health. Keep reading for small changes you can make in the kitchen!

Kettle

Ovente Electric

Electric kettles are more energy-efficient than stove-top kettles. An electric kettle heats up on an electric coil that boils the water directly. Look for ‘quick boil,’ ‘one cup,’ ‘automatic stop,’ or ‘eco-friendly’ kettles. These types of kettles can prevent too much electricity being wasted by up to 50% and still boil your water just as fast. 

 

Coffee Maker

eco-friendly coffee maker
Eco-Carafe by Perfect Pod

For many, a coffee maker is a must-have. Our number one tip is to avoid single-use pod coffee makers. This type of coffee maker is harmful to the environment because the pods are not biodegradable. Disposable paper filters are bleached and inevitably end up in our landfills. Try swapping out these products with reusable options. Environment-friendly options that require less electricity and heat than your standard coffee maker are french press coffee makers and pour-over coffee filters. 

 

Alternatives to Paper Towels & Napkins

cloth napkins
Threshold Cotton Napkins

A simple and affordable way to transition to an eco-friendly kitchen is by swapping out single-use paper products for a reusable option. Cloth napkins and towels go a long way in reducing waste and depletion of paper. 

 

Food Storage

glass food storage
Glass Food Storage Containers

Are you looking to eliminate your use of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and Ziploc bags in your home? Reusable storage bags and glass storage containers are environmentally friendly and feasible ways to store food and leftovers. The simple act of cutting out single-use plastics can help avoid hundreds of plastic baggies ending up in our landfills and oceans. 

 

Pots and Pans

cookware
Green Life

Making the wrong decision on cookware can have a bigger impact than you think. Avoid any non-stick cookware made with Teflon, as these are chemical-laden, while eco-friendly cookware avoids chemicals and coatings.  

How are you taking the steps to a more sustainable kitchen? Let us know!

4 Benefits to Nest Thermostats

Smart and green.

More and more aspects of the home are becoming advanced. Smart appliances coupled with sustainable products allow homeowners to increase efficiency, decrease energy usage, and save money. 

Thermostats and heating systems are a major player in the home’s energy usage and costs. Nest Thermostats take the guesswork out of saving energy, making it the first thermostat to become ENERGY STAR certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s why we decided to install Nest Thermostats in all the units at the Residences at 66 High Street

No Programming Required

Programmable thermostats help you become more efficient with energy and save money. The problem is they can be complicated to figure out, and only allow for 2-3 changes throughout the day.

Nest Thermostats learn your schedule, your preferences, changes in the season, and even your home’s heating and cooling system. After a few days, the thermostat knows when to turn the temperature up or down. Once it learns your preferences, you don’t have to make any adjustments. The best part? You start seeing your monetary savings right away. 

Control from Anywhere

Let’s say you are off of your typical schedule – you are working late, or are getting home earlier than expected. You have the ability to control the temperature from your phone. This ensures energy savings when the house is empty and comfortable temperatures when you arrive home. 

Proven to Save Energy

Heating and cooling a house account for nearly 50% of all energy usage. Studies have shown that Nest Thermostats saves homeowners 10%-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. In addition, an Eco Temperature setting takes over when Nest Thermostat senses you are away for an extended time. This helps save even more, without the hassle of changing the programming. 

Nest Leaf 

The Nest Leaf collects and analyzes data from your home. Based on that data, Nest offers ways for you to save even more energy. A Green Leaf that appears on the thermostat is your signal – simply press it to learn about ways you can save. 

This type of technology is the future of the Smart Home: saving energy and money, without the need to program. 

Do you have a Nest Thermostat? Tell us about your experience with it!

 

Steel: A Sustainable Construction Choice

Steel is one of the greenest materials in construction. With a high recycling content and an industry committed to reducing emissions, steel surpasses other construction materials in regards to sustainability. 

Steel in Construction

Steel has always been a popular choice of material. Steel framing is used in Type II-B construction because of its strength and durability. When framing out a building, steel is lighter than a structurally sound wood frame, and because steel is pre-engineered, it cuts down on time needed to build.

In addition, steel is flexible and can be molded into almost any shape. The non-combustible material has a long lifespan, combined with the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any construction material. This gives steel the ability to withstand all types of inclement weather.

Steel Manufacturing

Steel is made of iron, one of the most abundant elements on Earth. Even though iron is plentiful, the steel industry continues to work toward sustainable practices. Manufacturing plants use steel scrap to make new steel, which helps to conserve energy and resources. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, the industry has reduced energy intensity by 31% per ton of steel shipped, and emissions by 36% per ton of steel produced since 1990. 

Recycling Steel

Steel is one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet, with 80 million tons of steel recycled in North America every year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. All steel can be recycled, and because it is magnetic, it is quickly sorted from waste at recycling plants.

Recycling steel does not affect the strength and durability that is crucial to building with the material. This allows steel to be recycled an unlimited number of times without compromising the product. 

Due to its strength and sustainability, steel is a natural choice in our building developments, where we utilize Type II-B construction. 

 

Energy Efficient Offices

Offices are energy-consuming buildings; between heating and cooling, lighting, and technology and equipment required to run a business, the amount of energy used continues to rise. 

With more builders and contractors committing to sustainable building, commercial offices are becoming more green, or environmentally friendly. Green buildings are designed and constructed with sustainable materials that make the building more energy-efficient and reduces energy costs.

Business owners don’t often have control over how the building was built, unless moving into a brand new development. But there are things every office can do to maximize energy conservation and reduce costs. 

HVAC 

Space heating accounts for 25% of energy use in commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Ideally, a building will have proper insulation to help maintain a comfortable temperature. In older buildings, this cannot always be achieved. Whether you are leasing office space or own the building, maintaining your HVAC system can help decrease energy use and save money. Here are some ways to make the most of your HVAC:

  • Clean filters. Dirty filters slow down airflow. Check any filters regularly and change as necessary.
  • Program heating and cooling. Program the temperature of the office. After employees leave for the day, the heat (or AC) does not need to be turned up as high. 
  • Equipment tune-up. To make sure all systems are working efficiently, get a tune-up from an HVAC professional. 

Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to make energy-saving changes to your office space. Because lighting makes up 10% of the total energy use in buildings, it is worth the effort.

  • Motion sensor lights. Motion sensor lights are ideal for areas that are occupied during certain times of the day, including parking lots, stairways, and meeting rooms. 
  • Make the most of natural light. Builders are taking more advantage of natural light. Through a process called daylighting, sunlight illuminates buildings, cutting energy use and costs. This provides an added bonus – sunlight increases positive moods of everyone in the workspace. 
  • LED lights. LED bulbs last longer than fluorescent and incandescent lighting, and reduce the amount of energy used. 

Office Technology and Appliances

Offices are filled with technology and appliances – from computers and copiers to refrigerators and microwaves. Being mindful in your selection of these items can significantly reduce energy usage. 

  • Laptops. Laptops use up to 90% less energy than desktops. Depending on how many people work on computers in your office, this can make a significant difference.
  • ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR appliances, computers, copiers, televisions, and even fans and thermostats, are the most efficient equipment for the office. 

Minimizing energy consumption in the workplace is beneficial for both the environment and your business savings. As we take on new developments, we are mindful of sustainable practices and work to make each building as environmentally friendly as possible. 

 

Concrete Flooring Finishes

Concrete has always been popular in garages, basements, and factories due to its durability and low-maintenance. When the only option was a dull gray color, concrete was kept out of more high-profile areas of homes and businesses. 

Textured concrete is changing the way people use this flooring option. Concrete is made with a natural composite material combined with a cement binder and water. Textured concrete can be made smooth, shiny, or with patterns to create the look that you want. 

We go through some of the finishes that can be applied to concrete, so this durable and low-maintenance flooring can also be a focal point in the design of your space. 

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete creates a modern feel that can be used in finished basements, kitchens, and living rooms. The process starts by grinding the surface of the floor to the desired smoothness. Then the surface is sealed to create a shiny surface and protect the flooring from moisture and stains. Several tenants in the 350 Goose Lane Office Park opted for polished concrete flooring due to its durability, low maintenance, and modern industrial look.

Stamped Concrete

For a look of paved brick or stone, concrete stamping is an option. Large polyurethane stamps are used on the surface of wet concrete to create a 3-D impression. After stamping, the concrete is sealed. Stamped concrete is often used in outdoor living spaces, such as patios or pool decks. 

Stenciled Concrete

Stenciling is similar to stamped concrete in that it is done on wet concrete that has been poured, floated, and edged. Stencils are made from disposable paper and pressed into the surface to create patterns. Popular stenciling options include mimicking the look of ceramic tile, bricks, or pavers. 

Color

To change the color of a new concrete floor before it is poured, you can add color hardeners or integral pigments directly into the material when being mixed. For subtle color changes, natural dyes are used, while chemical coloring can create brighter colors. 

For an existing concrete floor, you also have options to add in color. These include staining, painting, or using tinted concrete sealers. 

Concrete flooring is being used in residential interiors, outdoor living spaces, and commercial offices. The low-maintenance and highly durable flooring, combined with numerous design options, make concrete a popular choice.

Car Charging Stations at 66 High Street

Tesla has experienced massive growth in the past six years. The plug-in electric car models allow people to charge their cars rather than fill up at a gas station. Not only are these luxury cars cheaper to run, but they are also better for the environment.

With the increase in sales, more charging stations are being opened throughout the country. People need to be able to charge their cars, and charging stations at home or work are the most convenient option, as it can take between 1 and 12 hours to charge, depending on the charger (Supercharger Stations the fastest option, though not available for home use). Being able to get home, plug in your car, and charge overnight is most convenient for Tesla cars.

Connecticut is one of the states where Tesla has installation services, making it possible for residents at 66 High Street to have home chargers installed through Tesla or an independent electrician. The quickest home charging option is the Tesla Wall Connector, although owners can also use the Mobile Connector included when purchasing a new model.

In a multi-unit dwelling, Tesla owners need to speak with either the board, manager, or owner of the complex before installation. Tesla provides a template letter if you need approval to install a charging station. At 66 High Street, some of our residents already have charging installed in the underground parking garage.

As more charging stations appear in New England, Tesla automobiles are becoming an option for more people every day. The Horton Group strives to make the communities we work with both luxurious and sustainable, and are available to help residents who own a Tesla set up a home charging station.

2018 HOBI Awards

The 2018 HOBI Awards Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club was full of laughs, celebration, and a welcomed chance for us to connect with others in the Home Building Industry.

The Horton Group is honored to receive four new HOBI Awards, bringing the total up to 11 in three years.

Horton Group’s 2018 HOBI Awards:

  • BEST CONDOMINIUM COMMUNITY for The Residences at 66 High Street
  • BEST CONDOMINIUM UNIT for The Residences at 66 High Street
  • OUTSTANDING NEW HAVEN COUNTY NEW COMMERCIAL for 350 Goose Lane
  • OUTSTANDING VACATION REMODEL for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

We are proud of all our work at The Horton Group, and are thrilled that these three projects have been recognized by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut.  

The Residences at 66 High Street

Residences at 66 High StreetThe Residences at 66 High Street is a luxury condominium community in Guilford, CT. Each unique residence features an open floor plan highlighted by high ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, finely appointed baths, and high-end finishes. Not only does this development provide an unparalleled level of opulence and sophistication, residents love the sense of community and inclusiveness at 66 High Street.

350 Goose Lane Office Park

350 Goose Lane Office Park combines the renovation of a 4,200 square foot post and beam building, two new buildings, and ample green space. Former home to Wilber & King Nursery, The Horton Group preserved the beautiful landscaping and pond for a commercial space with incredible benefits.

21 Palms

21 PalmsLocated in Marathon, a city set on 13 islands in the Florida Keys, is 21 Palms. After Hurricane Irma in 2017, The Horton Group had an unexpected rebuild to complete – one that made the beachfront vacation home even more pristine. 21 Palms is equipped with everything you want while on vacation, including luxurious amenities, a pool, boat dock, and epic ocean views.

We are so grateful to do this work. And to be recognized with HOBI Awards? That lets us know we are doing it right.

What Makes a Property Energy Efficient?

Inefficient energy consumption is harmful to the environment and causes energy bills to skyrocket. At Horton Group, we aim to provide high-quality products that are economically and environmentally sustainable. We strive for energy efficiency, which saves future buyers and tenants money, while doing our part to save the environment.

While the term is often thrown around, people seldom understand the many factors that go into making a structure truly energy efficient. From the early stages of design and construction, to the appliances and systems set in place near completion, our projects like The Residences at 66 High Street implement building technologies to ensure energy efficiency. These include:

Using the above building techniques and appliances, along with those available on the Department of Energy website, developers, homeowners, and business owners can play a major role in reducing emissions for the sake of the environment and their savings. Energy efficient building techniques can reduce energy costs to a fraction of the overall average.

Energy efficiency in both new and old buildings is a low-risk investment. Occupants are sure to save substantial sums of money as a result of drastically lower energy costs. For investors, developers, and builders, any extra time and money spent on energy efficiency will pay off.

 

Why is Green Space in a Commercial Development Important?

Formerly home to a plant nursery and landscape design company, the 16-acre site of 350 Goose Lane Office Park provides an amazing opportunity to reap the rewards of abundant green space.

Green space is any area of trees, grass, or vegetation, and is especially beneficial in commercial developments. Actions as simple as strategically planting trees can have significant impacts. In urban areas, green rooftops are an option when landscaping space is not available.  According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), net benefits of green space include:

  • Higher property values, rental rates, and retail sales
  • Lower energy costs
  • Reduced flood damage and infrastructure costs
  • Improved health and job satisfaction for tenants and employees

In the case of a leased property, developers, landlords, tenants, and employees all benefit. Expense-related benefits are particularly advantageous for tenants in a commercial space like 350 Goose Lane, as the leases offered are triple net, meaning the tenant pays for real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance.

Developers must preserve and implement green space wherever and whenever the opportunity is afforded to ensure that a project is economically and environmentally sustainable for all parties involved.

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