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04.25.2011 / Remodel to Go Green and Save Green

If the warmer weather has you itching to remodel, why not try one of the following improvements? Each one can enhance your homes comfort and value while potentially saving you money on your monthly budget and going easy on the earth, too.

"Installing a digital programmable thermostat (typical cost, $30 to $70) can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and potentially save you $180 per year"

Insulate and Seal

Adding insulation and sealing gaps in your home can offer some of the quickest return on investment. Together, these tactics help keep cool air in during the summer and warm air in during the winter, reducing the workload for your air conditioner and furnace. That could save you from 10 to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Compared to some other green projects, this one can also be fairly inexpensive (under $500, depending on how much insulation you need) and fast to implement.

Tip: See how much you can save based on your current energy bills with the calculator at http://www.homedepot.com/ecooptions (choose Energy Efficient, then Seal and Insulate).

Upgrade Windows

As with insulation and sealing, installing ENERGY STAR®-qualified windows helps keep warmed or cooled air where it belongs. The DOE estimates that, for this region, energy-efficient windows can help you save 15 to 21 percent in annual heating and cooling expenses, depending on the product. Costs vary by window type and quantity, but in general you can expect to pay $300 to $500 per window, including installation.

Tip: Learn more about energy-efficient windows at http://www.energystar.gov (click Products, then Windows, Doors & Skylights).

Go Programmable

It sounds simple, and it is. Installing a digital programmable thermostat (typical cost, $30 to $70) can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and potentially save you $180 per year, according to the DOE. These handy devices allow you to program different temperature settings throughout the day. So you can automatically reduce your heating/cooling usage when you don’t need as much, such as overnight or when you’re at work.

Tip: See your savings before you buy with the virtual programmable thermostat at http://www.energystar.gov (search for “launch thermostat tool,” then program for your family’s specific needs).

Get your incentives

In addition to energy savings, you may qualify for rebates on certain energy-efficient upgrades. A 30 percent federal tax credit may also be available for projects completed by Dec. 31, 2010, and you may find local or state tax credits, too.1

Do you have any “green” home improvement tips? We want to hear from you.

1 Consult with your tax advisor for more information on tax credits.

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