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Green Housing Improvements for the New Year

The beginning of the New Year is a great time to begin practicing environmental responsibility in your own home. Maintaining a green-friendly household is easier than you may expect and typically requires only minimal changes in order to reduce your overall energy consumption. Here are five green resolutions that can save you money while saving the environment as well.

Home energy audits
Assessing your home’s energy usage is an excellent way to identify problem spots and areas that need improvement. Professional energy auditors typically perform a thorough in-home inspection using specialized equipment including infrared camera setups and blower doors that can quickly and accurately find leaks in the exterior of your home, especially around windows, doors and other openings. Do-it-yourself energy audits can also provide valuable information to homeowners, but may lack the in-depth results possible from a professional in the field.

Insulate and save
In most cases, homeowners can improve the energy efficiency of their home by adding insulation to the walls, floors and ceilings. The attic and foundation of the home are statistically most likely to be under-insulated, making these the first areas to check when planning an insulation project. U.S. Department of Energy figures show that approximately 44% of the energy cost associated with maintaining a home is comprised of heating and cooling costs. Ensuring that attic spaces are adequately insulated can save from 10 to 40 percent of the cost of cooling your home in warm climate areas, so this green-friendly project can save you some green into the bargain.

Programmable thermostats
One of the most inexpensive ways to cut costs and increase the energy efficiency of your home is to replace old, outdated thermostats with new programmable devices designed to keep your home comfortable when you’re home while going into energy-saving mode when you’re not. Basic programmable thermostats can be set for specific times of day, while more expensive wireless thermostats can be accessed remotely by homeowners from cell phones, tablet computers or any other internet-ready device. These technologically advanced systems can make a major difference in the comfort level and energy costs of your home.

Energy efficient windows
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that replacing older windows with new Energy Star rated windows can reduce heating and cooling bills by as much as 15%. Financial incentives are available for both new and replacement installations of Energy Star windows for up to 10% of the cost of materials for these new window systems. Since Energy Star qualified windows can cost upwards of $300 apiece, these incentives can add up to a considerable amount of money for homeowners.

Water heaters
Modern energy efficient water heaters are available in three varieties:

• Traditional tank water heaters
• Gas condensing units
• Whole-home on-demand tankless

Traditional water heaters are good choices for homeowners who are comfortable with the amount of maintenance and the instant availability of hot water, but are the least energy efficient choice in most cases. Both gas condensing and on-demand tankless systems can save homeowners around 30% on the cost of water heating, making them the more efficient choices in most cases. However, upfront expenses can be considerable for these advanced water heating systems.

By resolving to reduce energy consumption within your home and considering these green-friendly projects, you can practice environmental responsibility throughout the New Year and keep more green in your wallet while you put more green in your daily routine.

Alex Levin is an online marketer for several nationwide surety agencies. When not educating entrepreneurs and contractors on bonding requirements, he enjoys fixing up his home and researching new construction techniques.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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