6 Green Home Upgrades That Can Save You Money

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Tuohy
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Modern living has a significant impact on the environment, so it’s important to look for opportunities to decrease energy consumption by making your home “green.” Whether you’re going for a complete remodel or simply doing a few upgrades, going green can help your home consume fewer resources and improve its efficiency.

Going green used to mean high upfront costs, and the promise of reduced energy and water bills often wasn’t enough for homeowners to take the plunge. Today, thanks to improved technology, tax incentives, and utility rebates, going green doesn’t need to break the bank. We’ll look at some of the best ways to get great deals on your renovations and upgrades, so you can help save the planet while you’re saving money.

Get a Free Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit shows you what upgrades will have the most impact. A professional will evaluate your entire home to determine how much energy it uses, where it’s losing energy, and where to prioritize the fixes that will make it more efficient. These audits can cost upwards of $250, but many utility companies offer them for free, so check with your local energy company.

Insulate and Get a Tax Rebate

Your energy audit might reveal that you need more (or better) insulation. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), of the $2,000 the average American household spends annually on energy, $200 to $400 goes to waste through drafts, air leaks, and poor insulation. New windows and doors will save you the most energy (according to the DOE, storm windows alone reduce energy loss through windows by up to 50%), but they are a pricey fix. If that’s not in the budget, consider adding regular insulation in the attic—it doesn’t cost a fortune and qualifies for a 10% federal tax credit.

Smarten Up Your HVAC With a Smart Thermostat

Installing a WiFi-connected smart thermostat has been shown to save hundreds of dollars a year, easily paying for one of the higher-end options, like a Nest or Ecobee, in a couple of years. You can save even more by buying a cheaper device from a reputable company, such as Honeywell.

Smart thermostats use your phone’s location to determine when you’re not at home and adjust the temperature accordingly. While cheaper options lack some of the advanced features of the higher-end models, they will still save you energy when used correctly. Check with your local energy company to see if they offer rebates for installing one—many do, and some will even give you a smart thermostat for free.

Water Wisely to Save Dollars

EPA WaterSense-certified smart irrigation controllers can save you a bundle on your water bill by using weather-based smart technology to avoid watering your lawn before, during, or after a rainstorm. These devices often cost upwards of $200—look for rebates through your local water company to cover some, if not all, of the cost.

Control Your Lighting for Less

Smart LED lightbulbs connect to your smart device, allowing you to set your lights on a schedule and control them remotely. The savings add up—each bulb can save you up to $25 a year in energy costs. A great way to save even more money is to look for coupons from big box stores that offer 10% or 20% off your purchase, and buy your bulbs in bulk.

Use Online Coupons to Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances

When making a large purchase, such as a new Energy Star-rated refrigerator or washer and dryer set, online coupons are an excellent resource to utilize.  According to energystar.gov, replacing your old fridge with a new Energy Star appliance can save up to $300 in energy costs over five years, while replacing an old washing machine with an Energy Star washer will use up to 33% less water and 5% less energy.

New appliances aren’t cheap, and the best way to get a deal is to look for coupons online.  Many reputable sites work directly with retailers and manufacturers to offer limited-time deals.

Going green might seem like a considerable expense, but it can be affordable if you know where to look for the best deals and savings. A green home can save you money in the long run and help the environment by cutting down on your energy consumption.

Jennifer Pattinson Tuohy is an award-winning freelance journalist with 15 years’ experience writing for newspapers, magazines, and online publications. She?covers green living and shopping tips for?Groupon. You can find savings on appliances and more on Groupon’s Sears pagehere.

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