The following is a guest post by Sid Davis, author of Your Eco-Friendly Home, on ways homeowners can save money by going green.
Many homeowners feel it takes a big investment in time and money to increase their home’s energy efficiency. However, there’s a lot you can do that will make your home more green and shave your energy bills at the same time. For Earth Day, I’ve pulled together my 10 favorite ways to go green:
1. Replace old energy-leaking windows with newer double or triple pane models. Depending on the area, this can reduce your heating and cooling bills significantly.
2. Make sure your home’s insulation is up to current standards and recommended ratings for your area.
3. When you replace aging appliances, shop for those with Energy Star ratings.
4. Replace roofs and siding with green and longer lasting products such as fiber-cement or recycled materials that will save you money.
5. Restore rather than replace kitchen cabinets when updating your kitchen. Restaining, painting or replacing hardware can save you thousands over buying new cabinets.
6. When replacing countertops, shop for attractive products made from recycled materials such as glass, wood, stone and even laminated cardboard.
7. Replace a failed water heater with a new hot water on demand unit. Along with insulated hot water pipes, you may pay for the upgrades in just a few years in water and energy savings.
8. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, consider replacing with a newer high-efficiency model. Depending on the area, you can often recoup the cost in energy savings in only a few years.
9. Consider replacing an old central air conditioner with a newer energy-efficient model. You can often recoup the cost in energy savings in just a few years.
10. Look for federal, state and city tax credits, utility company rebates and grants available in your area when you upgrade to energy efficient products. These savings can be considerable. Start with www.energystar.gov.
A frequent contributor to real estate industry magazines and The Los Angeles Times, Sid Davis is the author of Your Eco-Friendly Home: Buying, Building, or Remodeling Green. He is also the author of Survial Guide to Buying a Home (second edition to be published in June 2009), Survial Guide to Selling a Home, Home Makeovers that Sell, and The First-Time Home Owner’s Survival Guide. Davis is the owner of Sid Davis & Associates in UT.