Turn holiday warmth into energy savings

December 16, 2011

Completing green home improvement projects can be a smart New Year’s resolution. For one thing, creating energy efficiency at home is a gift that keeps on giving. And the money you save on heating and cooling bills this coming year may help fill your stockings the next time Santa comes to town.

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As we roll into the New Year, some contractors may be willing to negotiate favorable prices for their work. They have holiday bills to pay, too. Here are three great ideas for greening up your home – projects that you can schedule right away.

  1. Storm doors and windows. A new storm door seals your home from drafts and holds your home's internal temperatures. You can increase your energy efficiency by as much as 45 percent by adding ENERGY STAR compliant doors and windows.
  2. Under-cabinet lighting. As a first step in kitchen remodeling, you can green up your kitchen by installing under-cabinet fixtures that power low-energy LED bulbs. Spot lighting puts the focus on your work space, rather than wasting a high-powered fixture that illuminates your entire room. Add a dimmer and you're really in charge of your energy use.
  3. Water heater tune-up. Excessive water heating costs can chew up 20 percent of your total utility bill. Have your HVAC professional do a quick assessment. Cut heating costs by installing insulation wrap or blankets. Clean the tank with a solution that eliminates calcium, lime and rust.

As you sit by a toasty fire this winter with your feet up, you'll be glad you bought yourself peace of mind over the holiday season. It beats a tacky tie or pair of socks any day.

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