Improving the efficiency of big-ticket items makes a major dent in your bills and your home’s carbon output. Until December 31, 2010, energy-efficiency upgrades may qualify for one or more federal tax credits worth hundreds—even thousands—of dollars. The tax credit has restrictions, so read the fine print. Many products require professional installation and customization, so pricing varies. Get a detailed written estimate along with a certificate verifying the product’s federal tax credit qualifications. These items can make the biggest difference in your home’s efficiency.
Get into hot water
Water heating makes up a third of the typical home’s energy bill. A tankless water heater will use about 30 percent less energy than a tank-style. Or choose a solar hot water system for long-term payoffs. Either way, it’s an investment—but the tax credit makes your initial cash outlay much smaller.
Tankless hot water systems
Solar hot water systems
Real Goods DIY kits
Open windows of opportunity
Replace leaky, drafty windows and doors with ones designed to minimize solar heat gain and maximize insulation.
Crestline Windows and Doors
Renewal By Andersen
Marvin Windows and Doors
Reflect on this
A reflective roof can reduce roof surface temperatures by as much as 100 degrees, saving 40 percent on your home cooling bill. Metal roofing usually has recycled content, too.
American Building Components
Classic Metal Roofing
Wrap it up
A home’s heating/cooling system is usually its biggest energy eater. Make it work less by insulating well, with a product made from natural or recycled materials.
BioBased Insulation soy foam
UltraTouch recycled denim or newspaper
For more ways to save, check out the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Home Energy Saver Calculator.