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Green up at home this spring

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Spring turns minds to thoughts of outdoors and cleaning up inside after the very long and cold winter. As the outdoors greens up, spring and summer are great times to assess one’s home and make some green changes inside, too. Just a little work can make a big savings on utility bills, and reduce the carbon footprint of anyone’s home.

Energy efficient appliances use less energy, which helps the environment, and lowers utility bill. Energy efficient appliances are becoming very common, so it is easier to find them at reasonable prices. From an energy efficient air conditioner, to a better freezer, consider replacing your older appliances instead of repairing them.

Save up a little at a time, and replace appliances a little at a time. With each replaced appliance, one’s home will become a little more energy efficient. Power use will drop and so will money spenton utility costs, good for the consumer and the environment. Old appliances can be passed on by listing them on Craigslist and Freecycle. You can also check out the local appliance recycling program to prevent them from becoming part of a landfill. Many appliances are recyclable or contain hazardous waste items that must be recycled in special ways.

Water conservation is an environmental issue, and it can also save money on utility bill. Reducing water usage, can cut the water bill, promoting sustainable living. Try taking shorter showers, installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, collecting rainwater to use for watering plants and the garden, watering the lawn early in the morning or in the evening to minimize water loss due to evaporation, using native plants for landscaping, adapted to the local climate, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, and identifying and fixing leaky faucets.

Get a home energy audit. Find a reputable local company or organization that will do this for big ticket areas such as HVAC, roofing, insulation, etc. Homeowners can also perform a smaller scale home energy audit.

• Check for air leaks around windows, doors, and outlets.

• Make sure that air ducts are properly clean.

• Utilize smart strips to reduce the energy vampirism.

• Buy a programmable thermostat (Consumer Reports claims that such a thermostat can help save up to 20% on home energy costs).

• Consider adding insulation to better help retain heat during the winter and cool air during the summer.

Fix identified problems to make the home more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

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