Go green with big-ticket renovations

Going “green” means living in a way that’s friendly to the planet. But it also means keeping a little more “green” in your pocket by living more efficiently.

Even if the recession is keeping you from making over your whole house so it’s more energy efficient, you can convert it a little bit at a time.

Next time you need to replace an appliance or other home product, consider an eco-friendly choice. Here are some suggestions for going green at home:

  • When replacing major appliances, it pays to buy those that are Energy Star-qualified. These are significantly more efficient than other models so they’re cheaper to operate.
  • Buy appliances with “energy-saver” options. New dishwashers and washing machines, for example, use less water than older models and let you choose load size and water temperature. Turn off your dishwasher’s heated drying cycle, and chose a clothes dryer that automatically shuts off when it senses that clothes are dry.
  • Place the dishwasher and refrigerator on opposite sides of the kitchen so the heat from the dishwasher won’t force the refrigerator to work harder. Resist the temptation to store an extra freezer or refrigerator in the garage, where the extreme heat and cold will force it to work so hard it will send your energy bills soaring.
  • When it’s time to replace windows, go with double- or triple-paned glass. Those models cost more than your single-pane windows, but they prevent your heated or air-conditioned air from leaking outside, so you’ll save money on your energy bills.