Some Tips for Green Home Improvement

Today, people are realizing how important it is to keep our environment healthy. They do not want to waste their hard-earned money by living in an inefficient home. This is the reason why most homeowners, nowadays, are keen to improve their house and make it greener. Going green does not necessarily mean making drastic changes in the house. Even simple alterations can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your house. Listed below are some useful green home improvement tips that can help you make your property environment friendly.

* Maintain a nice herb garden. The good part is that it would not take up much space. So, you do not need to be a skilled gardener for maintaining it. There are a lot of herbs that can be easily grown indoors, which means that, even if you do not have enough outdoor space, you can still enjoy the flavor of home-grown herbs. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram, can be planted in cute small pots and lined up with the kitchen windowsill. By doing so, you can always have the basic herbs within your reach, anytime you need. In addition, the aroma which it would bring to your kitchen would be an added advantage.

* Paper and plastic bags, that are used by the stores, cause a lot of environmental issues, right from overflowing landfills and oil consumption to soil pollution and more. Investing in reusable bags is the best possible way for avoiding these problems. You can use the reusable bags while going out to shop for groceries, clothes, equipment or any other stuff.

* Paying the bills online is also a step towards saving the planet. If you pay the bills online, then you not only save your time but also the environment, by lessening the amount of paper which is used for the monthly statements. So, always have all your bills sent at your email address and not at your letterbox at home.

* If you have those old traditional light bulbs at home, then replace them with CFLs. CFL bulbs are more durable and energy-efficient than the ordinary incandescent bulbs. Thus, if you switch to CFL light bulbs, then you would surely save a lot of money by cutting back the energy consumption.

* Buy green home products. Apart from being safe for the environment, eco-friendly products also benefit people by saving their money. Moreover, by using these products, you would not be exposed to toxic chemicals, which in turn would reduce health issues. In short, by switching to environment friendly products you get, not one or two, but a lot of benefits.

So, follow these green home improvement tips and play your role towards Mother Nature as a responsible citizen. None of the above listed tips would cost you much. Making slight changes in your lifestyle would do the trick. So, make the most of these ideas by implementing them and enjoy their financial and health benefits.

Green Home Improvements: Take Advantage of Tax Credits for Energy-Saving Home Improvements

Green home improvements have been encouraged in recent years through the offering of tax incentives. For people interested in making their homes more energy efficient and gaining the tax benefits at the same time, here are some tips to help you understand what types of green home improvements qualify for a tax credit and how to make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn your benefit.

Some green home tax credits are expiring at the end of 2010. Although we are approaching year-end, there is still time to take advantage of some of these money-saving incentives for energy-saving home improvements, but you must hurry.

Tax credits are offered on a wide range of green home improvements and upgrades. Some are very inexpensive to do; other can be quite costly even with the tax credit. Here is a summary of what is available for 2010.

The simplest and least expensive energy-saving home improvement that qualifies is adding insulation. Insulation for your attic can be purchased for no more than $50 to $100, and if you install it yourself (which is fairly easy and straightforward to do) there is no additional cost. This will earn you a tax credit of 30% of the cost.

For more expensive investments, tax credits of 30% of the cost, up to a maximum credit of $1500, are available now for the purchase and installation energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning units, energy efficient windows and doors, and water heaters. The credit includes the cost of materials and also the cost of installation for all these items except for the installation on doors and windows (don’t ask me why windows and doors are excluded; it makes no sense, but that is the law).

It is important to remember that these tax credits apply only to your primary residence. Second homes and rental homes and apartments do not qualify for the items listed above.

But I have saved the best part for last. There are even better tax benefits available for rooftop solar panel arrays, small residential wind turbines, and geothermal heat pump systems. For these specific green home improvements, the tax credit covers 30% of all costs, including installation without any upper limit. Even better, for these specific energy-saving investments the tax benefits can be claimed for your primary residence and second homes. Unlike the previous cases, new constructions are also okay. And get this: these government-provided subsidies are not expiring at the end of 2010. Tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps are available through the year 2016.