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Going green doesn’t cost the Earth!

Dear Heather,

I want to make my home more energy-efficient but I can't afford solar panels or anything expensive like that. Have you got any ideas?

Homeowner

Dear Homeowner,

Hats off to you! Not only will your electricity bill be smaller but you will also save money in the long run, and reduce your carbon footprint. So as good weather returns it's the perfect time to take a fresh look at green home projects you can do now:

1. Replace your traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs

The price of LED bulbs has fallen drastically in the last few years, but homeowners can still get sticker-shock at seeing the upfront cost of replacing all their light bulbs.

If you can't do them all at once, do the ones you use most first and then the others as they need replacing. LED lights have a long life and significantly lower energy use as they throw out light and not heat like regular light bulbs, so it can save on your air-conditioning bill too.

Energy experts say the use of LED lighting has the greatest impact on energy savings. This is a simple step that any homeowner can take to make their home more green and save money.

2. Energy vampires

HD TVs, computers, phone chargers, etc. Put them all on smart power strips so that when you switch them off there is no electric charge being fed to them.

Also, inefficient or old air conditioners use large amounts of electricity.

If you can, replace them with newer and more efficient ones which are big enough to handle the square footage of your rooms, and turn them off when you are not at home or run them on dehumidify which can cool down the house more than you think.

Fridges, freezers and dryers can also use up a lot of electricity and all come in energy-saving models. Switch to a gas stove.

3. Add a timer to your water heater

Water heating is the second -largest energy expense. A timer on your water heater set to switch on for a couple of hours once or twice a day will keep your water hot for 24 hours.

Modern water heaters are well insulated and can keep the water hot even when the element is off. You will be amazed at how much this simple item will reduce your energy bill.

4. Replace old windows

A more expensive, but very beneficial green upgrade is installing energy-efficient windows.

New windows can make a substantial difference in the efficiency and comfort of your home.

Estimates show that adding double-glazed windows can reduce cooling costs by as much as 15 per cent.

6. Don't rule out solar panels

Solar panels have come down quite substantially in cost, and they can also be modular so you can start small and build onto your system.

The decreasing price of the technology, and competition in the industry have made solar panels a more attainable goal for those seeking a green home. With the increasing cost of electricity, solar panels provide a renewable form of energy that you can feel good about and can save you money long-term.

While the vast majority of people see a great return on investment for solar panels, many factors influence how beneficial they will be.

Why not invite a professional to visit your home to discuss them with you and give you additional suggestions and ideas about how you can cut your electricity costs.

Whether you have a lot of money to spend or just a little, green home improvements are definitely within your reach. Why not make those changes today? They will increase the value of your home, protect the earth, and add a little more money to your pocket. It's a win-win and if you are thinking of selling, lower energy costs will definitely be appealing for your buyers.

•Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

Eco housing: not only will becoming more energy-efficient make your electricity bill smaller but you will also save money in the long run, and reduce your carbon footprint

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Published March 21, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated March 21, 2017 at 8:13 am)

Going green doesn’t cost the Earth!

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