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Top 5 Green Home Improvements To Make This Spring

May 28th, 2013 Healthy Living

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and with all of those beautiful flowers and touches of greenery around, you may be wondering how you can limit your impact on the environment. What many people don't realize is that their homes leave a significant carbon footprint - everything from appliances, lighting and heating systems can make a significant impact on Mother Nature, so this could be the perfect time of year to give your home a few sustainable upgrades. Not only will this reduce your utility bills, but it will help out the planet in the process. Keep the following home upgrades in mind as you pursue a wide range of home design projects in the coming season.

Install energy-efficient windows
If your windows are aging and in need of repairs, sealing up potential leaks may not be enough to make a real difference in your monthly utility bills. According to TLC, replacing your old windows with energy-efficient designs is one of the best ways to control the amount of air that escapes to the outdoors and vice versa. During the height of summer or the depths of winter, you'll want to know that your air conditioner or heating unit isn't compensating for air leaks in your home. Last but not least, many energy-efficient windows are applicable for tax credits, so you'll save even more money in the long run.

Install Energy Star appliances
Many of the home appliances that you use on a regular basis, such as your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, may be sapping your energy bill on a monthly basis. If you're thinking of replacing one of these devices, make sure your next purchase carries an Energy Star certification. These appliances are manufactured to reach government standards of energy efficiency, so your new products will be assured to use less water or electricity over the course of their lifetimes. This will surely put money back into your pocket and do Mother Nature a huge favor.

Install a programmable thermostat
One of the biggest culprits of energy wastage in the modern home is an air conditioner or heating system that is running when no one is home. While you may make an effort to turn off this unit each day, there are those days when you'll forget and will pay for it in your next utility bill. U.S. News and World Report suggests installing a programmable thermostat in your home that will allow you to customize when your home heating or cooling system will be in use at peak times of the day. The news source reports that homeowners can save 10 percent off their monthly utility bills by turning their thermostats down 10-15 degrees for eight hours each day.

Make a few sustainable lifestyle changes
Not all sustainable alterations in your home will come with a hefty price tag. In reality, changing a few of your everyday habits can help you reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more eco-friendly. Consider starting a compost heap in your backyard to dispose of old food scraps and reduce the amount of waste you drag to the curb each week, as well as using a clothesline instead of your dryer on warm sunny days. Last but not least, make an effort to grow a vegetable garden this spring. With less trips to the grocery store, you'll avoid putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and your family can enjoy fresh produce for months to come. These subtle adjustments in your lifestyle can certainly add up in a hurry and you'll gain the satisfaction in knowing that you're doing your part to help the planet.