FIVE MONEY-SAVING GREEN UPGRADES
Going green is great for the environment, but that's not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.
Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren't as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
Insulation: There's a good chance your insulation isn't very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth's temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it's a great investment.