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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: A very special Money Pit program from The Crossroads Of The World today. We are in the heart of New York City. We are in Times Square and we are broadcasting from Earth Day New York, one of the biggest celebrations in the country. In fact, part of a worldwide set of events aimed at celebrating Mother Earth and helping keep her happy.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You want to keep Mom happy all the time, don’t you?

    Well, since 1970, this entire month has become synonymous with not only April flowers, although that is apropos, but Earth Day. There are so many ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and choose products, materials and appliances for your home that are environmentally friendly.

    And this hour, you’re going to learn more about just a few of the cool, eco-friendly products that have made being green easy.

    TOM: That’s right. And we’re also celebrating a huge milestone for The Money Pit: we have just reached the 300 mark for stations carrying our program.

    LESLIE: Woohoo!

    TOM: So, for a show that started very humbly more than 10 years ago, as a local New Jersey program on one station, we’re very proud of that very huge accomplishment.

    LESLIE: That’s really exciting.

    TOM: It is.

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, Tom.

    You know, we’re really proud of that and we do want to thank our loyal listeners, as well as our trusted sponsors, for helping us reach this milestone. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

    TOM: Now, as we’re focusing on the ways that you can go green at home with home improvements like new windows and doors, first up, one of the challenges in finding eco-friendly products is sorting through the miles of aisles and competing claims of energy efficiency and sustainability.

    Well, The Home Depot has a system in place that simplifies this process, making it super-easy for consumers to easily identify Earth-friendly products.

    LESLIE: That’s right. It’s called Eco Options and joining us now to tell us more about that is Josh Serro (sp), Store Manager of The Home Depot in Garwood, New Jersey.

    Welcome, Josh.

    JOSH: Hi, guys. Nice to have me here. Thank you.

    TOM: Yeah, well, it’s our pleasure.

    Now, tell us about this Eco Options program. Because I think that we get – we want to find energy-efficient and we want to find sustainable products but we’re confused by all the greenwashing that goes on.

    JOSH: Absolutely. It can be very difficult to find it.

    TOM: And it – yeah, so how does Eco Options help us sort through that?

    JOSH: Well, in 2007 – April 2007 – we launched our program called Eco Options. And what that does – it brands many major product lines in our stores with Eco Option branding to let the customer know that this meets specifications of being environmentally-friendly through sustained forestry, water conservation and just overall environmentally-friendly.

    TOM: OK.

    JOSH: And what that does is it – we have over 4,500 products in our stores right now.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    JOSH: If you log on to – even if you log on to our website at HomeDepot.com and go to our Eco Options page, there’s many do-it-yourself clinics. You can go through there, as well as our in-store do-it-yourself clinics. It makes it very easy for the average consumer, that wants to be green, to come in our stores and just buy an Eco Option product and know that we’ve already done the research for them and that we’ve already certified this as being eco-friendly.

    In an annual period, our – just our Energy Star appliances save our customers over $700 million.

    TOM: And that’s really amazing. There are a lot of authorities that claim to basically document whether a product is eco-friendly or not and so it becomes super-confusing. And by you guys sort of centralizing that database and really being sort of the judging authority – and impartially, because you’re a retailer – and looking at all of these products and trying to figure out which ones really measure up to the claims and make sense and then putting up one consistent label on it …

    JOSH: Absolutely. I mean people seem to, like you said, get overwhelmed when they want to be green. People tend to shy away from it. They want to be environmentally-friendly but they think that they have to go out and start a garden and start a compost. And we can help you do that, as well, but there are very easy ways of doing it: by upgrading your appliances when it’s time with Energy Star appliances, by getting eco-friendly cleaning products through our Eco Options program. We make it very, very easy for any consumer to come in.

    And I think that’s the greatest thing about our Eco Option program is that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to be green. You can walk in our store and you could – we can walk you through our product line in any category that you want to work with.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think in the plumbing category, there’s been a big initiative with the WaterSense rating. And you have been the retail partner for the past two years, correct?

    JOSH: Absolutely. We have a huge program with WaterSense.

    Just to give you some stats on that, in an annual period, our WaterSense products – such as faucets, showerheads, aerators and toilets – we’ve saved our customers over 30 billion gallons of water. That’s $200 million in water-bill savings in a yearly period.

    LESLIE: That’s huge.

    TOM: Wow.

    JOSH: That’s huge.

    TOM: That’s tremendous.

    Now, you guys also have a rechargeable-battery recycling program. Because more and more we’re trying to use battery-powered devices but eventually, they kind of build up.

    LESLIE: And you can’t just throw them out.

    TOM: You can’t just throw them out. You’re not supposed to.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: We know people do but we try to encourage them not to do that.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’re not supposed to.

    TOM: So how does that program work at The Home Depot?

    JOSH: Absolutely. You can come into any one of our stores and go into the – right by our Returns Desk. And we have a recycling center for CFL light bulbs, for rechargeable batteries and regular batteries.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    JOSH: And we have partnered up with Rechargeable Recycling Corporation and this program is also available free of charge to all of our customers through the U.S. and Canada. Through this, we’ve helped recycle over 480,000 pounds of CFL bulbs, as well as 770,000 pounds of batteries collected from our customers.

    TOM: That’s a lot.

    LESLIE: And that certainly makes it easy. Traditionally, you’ve got to source out where to bring these items to and it’s not always very convenient.

    JOSH: Yeah.

    LESLIE: And at every Home Depot, that’s great.

    TOM: We’re talking to Josh Serro (sp). He is a store manager with The Home Depot, joining us here in Times Square at Earth Day 2012.

    Josh, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JOSH: Thank you for having me.

    TOM: Great work.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, since we’re talking about eco-friendly and healthy options for your home, another way to fight unhealthy indoor air is to reduce your home’s humidity. High humidity levels can lead to bacteria growth, allergens, dust mites and of course, mold. In fact, any wood or organic material that you’ve got in your home can actually turn into a mold magnet if humidity levels linger around 60 percent. So what can you do?

    TOM: Well, one way to fight high moisture levels is to add a dehumidifier to your basement or crawlspace, since that’s how most of the moisture is getting into your home.

    Now, Santa Fe makes a top-quality humidifier and it’s an Energy Star-rated humidifier and we recommend it. They’re a proud sponsor of our program and if you visit Dehumidifier Solutions online, you’ll find a variety of models to meet the needs of your space.

    And let me tell you, when true muggy weather rolls in, you’ll be totally glad you did.

    LESLIE: Indeed. Alright. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, did you know that if you added up all of the gaps and the cracks in your home, you’d have a hole the size of a window? Well, we’re going to show you how to seal up all those seemingly harmless little gaps and save big energy bucks, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Now onto one of the biggest energy wasters in our homes. You may be shocked to learn that all of those little gaps and cracks we have on our homes and tend to ignore really add up. In fact, together, they can add up to a hole the size of a window, so it’s kind of like heating or cooling your home with a window wide open all year long.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s like a giant waste.

    Alright. Here to tell us what we can do about that is Lee Heronema from Dow Building Solutions.

    Lee, what kind of gaps and cracks are we talking about? Are they massive? Will we see them or is everything kind of tiny and you’ve got to be aware?

    LEE: As you alluded to, is saving energy. So those air leaks account for 20 to 40 percent of the energy used through your heating and cooling system. So, you seal those gaps and cracks, you’re going to save money, which reduces greenhouse gas, as well.

    So, by sealing those gaps and cracks, your return on investment on a can is less than a month by doing that, so …

    TOM: Wow, less than a month.

    LEE: Less than a month, yes.

    TOM: And a can is less than 4 bucks.

    LEE: It’s 3.98.

    TOM: That’s great.

    So, where will we start on our sort of hunt for all of these little spaces?

    LEE: Well, a good place is under sink penetrations; around faucets, exterior faucets; your dryer vent, places like that; areas around the foundation between the concrete and the wood foundation.

    TOM: OK. Right. Yep.

    LESLIE: And what about electrical outlets on exterior walls? Those always seem to be blowing air into the house.

    LEE: Correct, yes. That’s a good place to start. You can use Gaps & Cracks – GREAT STUFF Gaps & Cracks – either on the interior or exterior of the wall. We also have formulations that are designed for windows so that they’re lower-pressured, so they don’t bow the window so you can’t use it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I suppose very important to find the right formulation for the project. Is there a guideline? I mean if I’m looking at a hairline crack, is it the same product that I would use if there’s something a bit larger?

    LEE: Great question. We actually have six formulations that range from small – less than 1 inch in diameter – up to 3 inches. And we also have formulations for windows and doors, which is different than your typical gaps and cracks, because of the way it dries.

    TOM: Right.

    LEE: Some are a little softer; others are a little more rigid.

    TOM: Right. Like I’ve used the Window & Door and if you use the wrong product, it can swell and actually sort of make the door stick or the window stick. But the one that – for windows and doors …

    LESLIE: Wow, it puts that much pressure on the fixture itself?

    TOM: It doesn’t but it gets kind of spongy. That’s why you want to choose the right formulation. I’ve been using the stuff for years and I’ve got to tell you, when you need it, there’s nothing else that will do. You’ve got to have this.

    When I was younger and just starting in construction, people used to take insulation and jam it around the window. That does nothing.

    LESLIE: That does nothing.

    TOM: It does nothing, you know? This stuff really insulates because it’s closed-cell; it holds all the air inside of it when it dries, right?

    LEE: Correct, yes.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s terrific. So, Lee Heronema, Marketing Manager with Dow Building Solutions, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, filling us in on GREAT STUFF.

    LEE: Thank you.

    TOM: And this product is another of the Eco Options products available at The Home Depot.

    LEE: You can also visit us at DowGREATSTUFF.com to get an air-sealing checklist we have with our Pestblock and our GREAT STUFF Wipes.

    TOM: Excellent. Lee, thanks so much for being a part of show.

    LEE: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Lee.

    Alright. Now we’re going to take a question from our large audience out here.

    TOM: Yeah, we’re here in Times Square.

    LESLIE: We’re right in the middle of Times Square, so let’s find out what everybody has got on their minds.

    TOM: We’ve got Nikki stopping by the broadcasting booth. Nikki is from New Jersey and what’s your question?

    NIKKI: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie. I was wondering how I can bring energy efficiency to my rental space.

    LESLIE: That’s a big challenge.

    TOM: Ah, yeah, that’s a good question because, of course, you’re not going to tear open ceilings and things like that.

    NIKKI: No.

    TOM: But there are little things that you can do.

    First of all, the things you can control: lighting. You can replace all the incandescents in your apartment with …

    LESLIE: And never have to replace them again, probably, the whole time you’re there.

    TOM: Well, the thing is – right, you put in CFLs and LEDs. Now, that’s going to require an investment but here’s the new good news: you take them with you when you leave, right?

    NIKKI: Exactly.

    TOM: We have to start thinking differently about light bulbs. Light bulbs are really an investment product today; it’s not a disposable product. And so you can replace all the incandescents with LEDs or CFLs and then pack them up with your bookcases and everything else when it comes time to move.

    Now, you can also seal around windows and doors. And let’s say you have really drafty windows, there is a product out that’s called “temporary caulk” or “temporary weatherstripping.” And you basically caulk your windows shut and you think, “How can I do that?” Well, the reason you can do that is because it’s temporary and in the spring, you can peel it off and it doesn’t damage the windows.

    So little things like that, even though you’re in a rental, they can make a big difference and lower those energy bills and make you more comfortable.

    LESLIE: But that could be beneficial even in the warmer months. You have to provide your own air conditioning, in most cases, and if you seal those windows, as well – when you’ve got an air leak in the cooler months, you’ve also got an air leak in the warmer months. So it does make sense that if you can keep those windows sealed, if you’ve got your air conditioning going, you’ll probably save some money there, as well.

    TOM: Oh, absolutely. Does that help you out?

    NIKKI: Yes, excellent. Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: (inaudible at 0:13:26) Nikki.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit broadcast booth here in Times Square.

    We’re part of Earth Day celebrations this hour. Also celebrating our 300th station being added to the program. And now we have – Clay from New York has a question for us.

    CLAY: Hi, Tom.

    TOM: Hey, Clay.

    CLAY: Big fan of the show, first off.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Clay.

    TOM: Thank you.

    CLAY: Hi, Leslie.

    So I live in a tiny apartment here in Manhattan.

    TOM: Right.

    CLAY: And I’m really interested in saving space. It doesn’t really go along with the whole saving-energy thing but I’m interested in Murphy beds all of a sudden.

    TOM: Ah, yes.

    CLAY: And is it realistic to build my own? I have some carpentry skills but nothing major.

    LESLIE: Well, there’s basically a mechanism that you can buy.

    CLAY: OK.

    LESLIE: If you search online, you will find the main component that creates the Murphy bed.

    CLAY: Interesting.

    LESLIE: They’re not as affordable as you think, so it might make more sense to purchase one, depending on your level of carpentry and your experience, if you’ve got the tools, do you have to rent a tool.

    CLAY: Right. OK, OK.

    LESLIE: You need to consider all of that when you’re looking at it line by line on a budget.

    CLAY: Right.

    LESLIE: But to consider making one, if you can get the mechanism, they’re fairly easy to put together. You need to build a sturdy cabinet. The cabinetry needs to be, of course, anchored to the wall system, as well as the mechanism for the Murphy bed, as well.

    CLAY: Right. OK.

    LESLIE: But those do save a tremendous amount of space.

    CLAY: They sure do.

    LESLIE: And you know, I have a friend who grew up in New York City. It was a one-bedroom apartment; he was an only child. He lived his whole life on a Murphy bed. The living room was his bedroom.

    TOM: You know what the best part about a Murphy bed is? You never have to make your bed.

    LESLIE: Exactly. Just put it away.

    CLAY: Oh. That’s why I want it, Tom.

    TOM: You just fold it up.

    CLAY: Yep.

    TOM: And there are other little décor tricks that you can do to try to make your little space feel bigger.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you add a mirror across from a window that helps reflect light around the space, that tends to make a space feel a lot larger.

    CLAY: That’s a good idea.

    LESLIE: You can do an accent color on a wall on the further end, on the longer end of the apartment. That will also make the space feel larger.

    Make sure that your furnishings are all the correct scale for the apartment, as well. If you get something that’s super-oversized, it’s suddenly going to make the space seem a lot more crowded.

    CLAY: Right. Most of my furniture comes from the street, as …

    LESLIE: Yes.

    TOM: Well, you’re very green.

    CLAY: Exactly, exactly. Exactly.

    TOM: Clay, thanks so much for stopping by the broadcast.

    LESLIE: And the truest form of recycling.

    CLAY: Thank you, guys.

    TOM: Hope that helps you out.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show broadcasting from Times Square, in celebration of Earth Day. We’ve got Sue stopping by. She’s got a question from New Jersey.

    How can we help you?

    SUE: I just have a question. I leave a lot of stuff plugged in, like my chargers and my toaster oven. Does that really make a big difference? I’ve heard that it’s a lot of energy just in products that aren’t even on.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s what we call vampire power. It basically drains energy even when it’s off. And so there’s a couple of things you can do.

    First of all, the more – the newer Energy Star-rated electronics are specifically designed to not use vampire power. But the older ones do, so a simple solution is to put it into a power strip, so that you shut the power off and get in the habit of doing that. That basically shuts down everything that’s plugged into it and makes that vampire drain go totally away.

    But it definitely is a sore spot; it can definitely cost you some money. And it’s one of those things that if you pay attention to the small things, they really do add up, right?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean they really do and it’s things like your coffeemaker, your toaster oven, any sort of charger, even your cable box. If you’re not watching TV, turn it off. There’s no reason for it to be on. Same thing with your modem, as well.

    TOM: Yep.

    LESLIE: Unless you’re functioning on a wireless level in the house and you need it, turn it off when you’re done for the night, because that really will make a tremendous difference.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SUE: OK. Now, the trick is getting the kids to do all that, too.

    LESLIE: Yeah, right.

    TOM: Yeah, there’s a whole training element to it, yeah. Good luck with that. We’ve been completely …

    LESLIE: And the training is Mom follows behind where Dad does, as well.

    TOM: Yeah. And I can tell you that we’ve both been completely unsuccessful but we’re getting better.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    SUE: Thank you.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for stopping by the broadcast booth, Sue.

    Well, we are in Times Square, New York broadcasting from Earth Day 2012, a very exciting event going on here. Thousands of people learning how to be more sustainable in their homes.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And still ahead, lighting solutions that are bringing us into the 21st century and beyond. Find out about energy-efficient options that look, light and dim like incandescent bulbs that we’ve all become so used to but that can do all of that with a fraction of the energy, after this. So stick around, everybody. Happy Earth Day.

    TOM: Happy Earth Day.

    (theme song)

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are in the heart of New York City today, at Times Square, celebrating energy efficiency and sustainable living at the site of Earth Day 2012. And we’re checking out all of the cool exhibits here that are not only aimed at greening our homes but also saving some money and some energy, as well.

    LESLIE: That’s right. It’s quite a spectacle here.

    TOM: It is.

    LESLIE: It’s really busy, it’s exciting. Everybody’s excited about helping the environment. It’s a really exciting venue. We’re happy that you’re all joining us here.

    Well, Lutron is a trusted sponsor of this program and they’ve been leading the way for lighting solutions, especially in the energy-efficiency area. And Melissa Andresko is joining us now to tell us more.

    Welcome, Melissa.

    MELISSA: Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom. Happy Earth Day.

    TOM: Well, Happy Earth Day to you, too.

    Now, you guys have some really innovative products and you have products that solve problems. They are solution-based products.

    LESLIE: Before they’ve even become a problem.

    TOM: That’s right.

    And one of the issues that – we always have this sort of technological race where we develop something but then we have to make sure the existing infrastructure can handle it. And you know I’m talking about dimmers.

    Now, you guys invented the dimmer and it’s an amazing invention because it makes our homes beautiful and energy-efficient at the same time. But now we have all of these wonderful, low, energy-efficient light bulbs that use a quarter of the power. We need new dimmers to make that work and you guys figured that one out, too.

    MELISSA: Yes, we did. We recently introduced what’s called our C?L Dimmer Collection. And to your point, technologies are changing.

    TOM: Yeah.

    MELISSA: So how do we adapt the dimmer to work with these newest types of light bulbs, beyond the incandescent and halogen bulbs? So, our new C?L dimmer family works not only with the standard incandescents but all the bulb types.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    MELISSA: So if you start today with an incandescent, your dimmer’s going to work. If a year from now, you switch to a dimmable CFL, that dimmer’s going to work. So, it really helps kind of future-proof whatever light-bulb choices/decisions you’re going to make over the next few years.

    LESLIE: And I think that’s so important because a light bulb really is one of the simplest things that you can do to become more energy-efficient in your home and really make a change in your energy usage. And the dimmer, as Tom mentioned, is just so lovely; it really makes a room for all purposes. And it’s important, I think, to make sure that it’s always going to work.

    So, how do you future-proof it? There’s technology always changing in the bulbs itself. Will this dimmer work five years from now with the newest technology?

    MELISSA: Well, we’ve got a bulb list on our website of all the bulbs that today it’s going to work with. So, we continually update this list and as technologies change, we’re going to continue to tell consumers, “Hey, here are the latest and greatest bulbs that just hit the market. We’ve tested them; we’re going to tell you which ones are going to perform best with the dimmer.”

    TOM: And there’s over 200 bulbs, I heard, on that list.

    MELISSA: That’s correct.

    TOM: So we’re not talking about a handful here.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    MELISSA: And we’ve tested hundreds but there’s about 200-and-some right now.

    TOM: So there’s always going to be one and we’re talking about CFLs, talking about LEDs; we’re talking about small bulbs, big bulbs. I saw these Cree bulbs that you can use in your high-hat light fixtures that work, as well.

    And what’s particularly cool is, let’s face it, the bulbs are more expensive than incandescents, so you’re going to buy them slowly over time. And what’s cool about the C?L is because it works with everything. So theoretically, and correct me if I’m wrong, you could have an incandescent, a CFL and an LED all in the same dimmer.

    MELISSA: That’s correct.

    LESLIE: Really?

    MELISSA: And it’s actually going to dim them all at the same time and it knows that it’s controlling different levels.

    LESLIE: At the same rate, everything.

    MELISSA: Yep. It knows that it’s controlling different bulb types, so that’s our engineering at work for you.

    LESLIE: That’s genius. I mean that really is fantastic.

    Now, tell us about the efficiency of dimmers. If everybody were to install them, how much energy are we typically saving as a country, as a household?

    MELISSA: So if – right now, the amount of Lutron products are installed throughout the globe. As a company, we save about a billion dollars a year, thanks to everybody who’s using dimmers.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    MELISSA: It is. And to your point about – it’s not just an energy-saving product but it’s also making our spaces look better. It’s making the restaurants we eat at look nicer, we have a better experience making our homes look beautiful.

    LESLIE: It’s ambiance.

    MELISSA: Exactly. It’s all about the ambiance.

    And so when you talk about what can we do to make a difference – so if every house changed out two light switches for two dimmers, we’d save an additional $1 billion a year in energy.

    TOM: Yep.

    LESLIE: That’s huge.

    MELISSA: So, we can all get behind this and it’s a small investment, you know? They start at around $10 a piece, so not going to break the bank and the payback is tremendous.

    TOM: And there – I understand there’s even some rebates in certain parts of the country, too.

    MELISSA: Yes. Depending on where you live.

    TOM: Like I know New York has one, right, where we are today.

    We’re talking to Melissa Andresko. She’s the spokesperson for Lutron Electronics.

    Melissa, I want to ask you about another product you guys make. It’s an occupancy sensor. That really helps, too. And Leslie and I both have kids and we – no matter what we do, we cannot get them to turn off lights when they leave the rooms and things like that.

    LESLIE: Turning them on is no problem.

    TOM: Yeah, on is easy but off is a problem.

    MELISSA: Off is a challenge.

    TOM: So many times we have left as a family to go out somewhere at night and you look up at the house and where are the lights on? Kids’ rooms.

    Now, an occupancy sensor can actually help that; it kind of takes the necessity for the kids to actually think about it. Talk to me about how they work.

    MELISSA: So, Tom, an occupancy sensor – installed commonly in places like a kid’s room or a laundry room, sometimes a garage – it will sense when you walk in the room and it’ll actually turn the light on.

    TOM: Right.

    MELISSA: And then after it senses a period of inactivity, it will actually shut that light off.

    TOM: Yep.

    MELISSA: So you don’t have to remember to turn the light off or if you’re carrying groceries or a basket of laundry, what have you, you don’t have to fumble …

    LESLIE: No more elbows for the switch.

    MELISSA: Yeah, no more elbows for the switch, no more yelling at the kids to turn the lights off.

    So, what’s great about this new sensor is so many times, people have had that experience where you’re in a room with a sensor and all of a sudden, the light goes out and you find yourself waving your arms above your head trying to get the light to turn back on.

    TOM: Yep.

    MELISSA: We’ve actually built in a technology that detects motion as fine as a page turn.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Oh, really?

    MELISSA: So even if you’re just sitting still, just quietly reading a magazine, it’s actually going to detect that fine of motion.

    LESLIE: Now, what about if you’ve entered a space but it’s bright daylight outside. Is it going to know that it’s also daylight and it doesn’t need to turn on? Or is there a manual switch I need to put on to be like, “OK, it’s nighttime. Now you’ll come on when I go in.”

    MELISSA: You’re very smart. There’s actually ambient light detection built into this, to the occupancy sensor, so it’s actually going to detect how much light is coming in. If it feels that that’s enough light, equal to or greater than the amount the bulb would give off, it’s not going to turn on your light.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    TOM: Wow.

    MELISSA: So, great way to save energy and just all around a smart idea.

    TOM: Well, like I said, what you guys focus on are solutions. You’ve got a lot of them, you’ve brought us a lot of innovations over the years. Thanks so much for continuing that great work. Melissa Andresko from Lutron.

    MELISSA: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.

    TOM: If you’d like more information, you can head on over to their website at Lutron.com. That’s L-u-t-r-o-n.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, we’re going to have tips on a lumber-free decking solution that looks fantastic, is a breeze to maintain and will really save you some money. So stick around.

    TOM: That’s all coming up when The Money Pit continues from Times Square, New York, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes. Formulated to restore, beautify and protect decks, fences and siding year-round. Behr is available exclusively at The Home Depot or you can visit the new Exterior Wood Care Center, built to help you find the right products and colors for your project. For more information, visit B-e-h-r.com.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. Tired of reminding your family to turn off the lights? Install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor and you’ll never have to remind them again. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit ChooseLutron.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. And you’re listening to The Money Pit today coming to you from Times Square. We are at Earth Day New York, where we’re kicking off a month-long focus on green products and materials for your home, many of which you’ll find featured in our green guide at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: That’s right. The Money Pit’s green guide is actually presented, in part, by Philips, a leader in lighting.

    Philips has created products that can save energy in all of your lighting fixtures while making your home look great. In fact, Philips has won high praise from the Department of Energy for developing one of the best energy-efficient light bulbs on the market today. And here to tell us more is Christina Miele from Philips.

    Welcome, Christina.

    CHRISTINA: Hi. Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: You are so welcome.

    Alright. She’s brought some light bulbs. Let’s see what you’ve got.

    TOM: Yeah, so tell us about the award-winning bulb. You guys won the L Prize. That was a huge accomplishment and I think you won a $10 million prize, so I’m sure you were thrilled about that.


    LESLIE: Wow, that’s huge.

    TOM: But there was a lot of innovation that went into that, so talk to us about it.

    CHRISTINA: So, the L Prize was the first government-sponsored technology competition, which was represented by, you mentioned, the DOE.

    TOM: Right.

    CHRISTINA: It really challenged lighting manufacturers to push the limits of energy efficiency and develop a high-quality LED that can replace incandescents.

    So Philips developed a 10-watt LED, which is the best efficient light bulb on the market right now.

    TOM: Now, how much equivalent in watts? How much can you get out of a 10-watt bulb?

    CHRISTINA: It’s equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: That’s great.

    TOM: Now, that’s huge because that’s a big accomplishment. I see why you won the prize, because the typical CFLs and LEDs, they’re about 25 percent of the power, right?

    CHRISTINA: Correct.

    TOM: So this is a lot less than that. It’s about 20 – 18, 20 percent? Something like that?

    CHRISTINA: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s terrific.

    CHRISTINA: Yes. And the L Prize will only cost you a $1.20 per year to run.

    TOM and LESLIE: Wow.

    CHRISTINA: And it’ll save you $165 over its life, which is 27 years.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Now, when I’m looking at this light bulb, Christina, it doesn’t really look like a light bulb. I mean it’s yellow, it’s got weird cutouts, it’s very cool-looking.

    TOM: It’s cool-looking.

    LESLIE: But how is it functionally for lighting? It’s yellow.

    CHRISTINA: It has a yellow appearance but I assure you, it does turn white when lit. It actually is made with blue LEDs and when the blue LEDs shine through the yellow, it creates a white light. So it’s very warm, soft light: what you’re used to in a standard incandescent light bulb.

    LESLIE: From an incandescent.

    TOM: I will tell you that I’ve actually replaced a lot of the incandescents in my house with your Philips LEDs and I was so pleased with the quality of the light. It makes it really easy to work and see what you’re doing.

    CHRISTINA: Mm-hmm. Yes. It acts and behaves just like an actual incandescent light bulb. It has smooth dimming capabilities and it’s the best incandescent replacement out there on the market.

    TOM: We’re talking to Christina Miele from Philips.

    And let me just ask you before I let you go: you think people have to start thinking differently about light bulbs? They’re more expensive than incandescents but they’re more of an investment, right?

    CHRISTINA: Absolutely. Lighting technology has come a very long way since the standard incandescent was introduced. It’s more of an investment. It’s not your typical disposable $2, $1.50 light bulb like an incandescent but you will see that money back over time on your energy bills.

    LESLIE: How sturdy are they? Because my four-year-old loves to help me with the grocery shopping and picking light bulbs is his favorite.

    CHRISTINA: They’re very sturdy, very durable. I assure you, you cannot break them.

    LESLIE: That’s perfect. It’s what I’m looking for.

    TOM: Christina Miele from Philips, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, live from Times Square.

    CHRISTINA: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Well, as we head into warmer weather, one place to enjoy those long, warm days is outside on your deck. You know, a deck adds usable square footage to your home without changing your home’s footprint. But wood decks, they need a lot of maintenance and care over time. That’s why, at the start of each season, you should be inspecting your wood deck for cracked or loose boards, any rusted fasteners and wobbly railings.

    TOM: That’s right. And now if you’re in the market for a new deck or you want to replace one that’s seen better days, consider using a decking that’s even better than wood. Kleer Decking is 100-percent PVC decking that is completely void of any natural materials. And that’s important because natural materials could promote mold or mildew growth.

    Now, it’s also 40-percent lighter than traditional wood or composite, making the deck-building process a lot less back-breaking.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And that is the hard part.

    Now, the Kleer Decking Sierra Series has a lifetime warranty, including labor for two years plus a 25-year warranty against scratching, staining and even fading. It’s also available in seven vibrant colors, including the popular look of streaking found in tropical hardwoods.

    Now, there are many other color schemes, including a Coastal series with lighter wood-color tones.

    TOM: Kleer Decking is a proud sponsor of The Money Pit. Learn more at KleerDecking.com. That’s Kleer – spelled K-l-e-e-r – Decking.com.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show broadcasting live from Times Square. We’ll be back with more, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Santa Fe, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient basement and crawlspace dehumidifier. Santa Fe offers a complete line of high-capacity, Energy Star-rated dehumidifiers, specifically designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of crawlspaces and basements. Visit DehumidifierSolutions.com to learn more.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And this is a very special edition of The Money Pit. We are at The Crossroads Of The World in Times Square, the site of Earth Day New York 2012, where we are helping you kick off a season of saving money through energy efficiency and sustainability.

    LESLIE: And you know what? One of the most water-wasting items in your home is your toilet. If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, replacing your toilet with a water-saving model really does make a lot of sense. But what about the millions of us with no plans for a major remodel, who feel stuck with an old water-waster? Let’s face it: it’s something you’ve got to use every day.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Well, there is a much easier and much cheaper way to start saving on every single flush. And here to tell us about it is Michael Schuster from HydroRight.

    Welcome, Michael.

    MICHAEL: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Now, typically, when you want to save money on your toilet, you have to replace your toilet.

    MICHAEL: Absolutely.

    TOM: But you guys figured out how we don’t have to do that, with a much more inexpensive option. Talk to us about it.

    MICHAEL: Yeah. With our products – we have HydroRight and HydroClean. HydroRight is a dual-flush converter. So, basically, no tools required for any of our products.

    LESLIE: No tools, no plumber.

    MICHAEL: Yeah. No tools, no plumber. Drops in. Hand-tightened only. And it’s something that saves all kinds of water and eliminates the problems that people typically have with toilets.

    TOM: Now, how much water can you actually save?

    MICHAEL: We can actually reduce your indoor water bill up to 36 percent.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    TOM: Right. Now, let’s talk about a dual-flush converter. Leslie and I have kids, so we would call that Number One and Number Two.

    MICHAEL: Yep.

    LESLIE: That makes sense.

    TOM: You only need half as much water if you’re going to have to handle a Number One, right?

    MICHAEL: That’s exactly it.

    TOM: And this technology – did I do that well?

    LESLIE: It’s such a delicate subject.

    MICHAEL: One for one, two for two.

    TOM: Two for two. Right, exactly.

    And so by taking an old-technology toilet that is a big water-waster, you basically can get a half a flush and that’s all you need.

    MICHAEL: That’s it. And four out of five times that you’re flushing the toilet, it was just for liquid and paper. So this allows you to reduce your water. Basically, twice the amount of water that you’re using is being wasted every time that you’re flushing. So, instead of draining out the entire tank, you’re able to use half as much.

    LESLIE: Now, is there anything tricky, as far as the installation? Do I have to turn off the water? Do I have to drain what’s in the tank? Is there anything that I need to know before I go ahead and jump into this project?

    MICHAEL: Well, if you’re – if you need help, you can always go to YouTube and my son, who’s eight years old, installed it in three minutes.

    TOM: No, is that right?

    MICHAEL: Yeah. Three minutes flat.

    TOM: Way to put the kids to work. You know what I call that? A tax deduction.

    MICHAEL: Yes.

    LESLIE: I will tell you, Michael, that ours arrived the other day and my four-year-old picked up the box and immediately had all the parts out and was like, “Can we put this immediately? Because our flapper valve looks old and it looks really dirty in there. We really need to clean that.” I’m like, “Henry, you’re not even four yet. What’s going on?” So maybe I should just hand it to him.

    MICHAEL: Yep. Yeah. Oh, he can watch the YouTube video for …

    TOM: Hey, speaking of kids, this is actually a family business, right? Didn’t I hear that there was a plumber that invented it?

    MICHAEL: Yes, actually, myself. I’m a fourth-generation plumber from Chicago.

    TOM: Oh, you’re the plumber. Oh, alright. You look so clean and well-dressed for a plumber.

    MICHAEL: I clean up well.

    TOM: Well, that’s a terrific story.

    LESLIE: It’s great.

    TOM: Michael Schuster from HydroRight, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    MICHAEL: Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we’ve been broadcasting this hour from the scene of Earth Day 2012 in New York. We hope we’ve given you a few good ideas to help you make your home more energy-efficient and sustainable.

    Now, if you’ve got a question, remember you can reach out to us 24-7 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or online at MoneyPit.com, where the show does continue. We want to take a moment to thank the folks from Earth Day New York for all of the hard work that they put into this wonderful event. We also want to thank the folks from Home Depot for letting us share a little bit of their space here, right smack dab in the middle of Times Square.

    Remember, we are available 24-7. I never let Leslie take a rest.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: So, call us anytime with your question.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    (Copyright 2012 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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