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Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

By Christina Kelley

Many homeowners dismiss eco-friendly improvements because they can be pricey. However, many of these improvements are also energy savers. If you're on the fence about whether to make your house greener, consider this: eco-friendly home improvements can actually save you a bunch of money, with the savings building up over time.

There are plenty of simple things you can do to save energy like changing your old light bulbs out for new florescent ones. However, if you are planning a larger remodeling there are plenty of other things you can do to make your house more eco-friendly. Here are a few suggestions to make your home more eco-friendly, whether you are redoing your bathroom, your kitchen, or even your roof.

-- Install more fans. Of course, ceiling fans are useful in the summer for cooling off, but run them in the reverse in the winter and they are a good system for keeping hot air from accumulating on the ceiling.

-- If you live in a warmer climate change the color of your roof. Studies show that depending its color, your roof and attic may receive much more heat than they need.

-- Reinsulate your house. Insulation is not something most people think to redo. However, if your house is more than 20 years old you can switch out your old insulation for a material that is probably more efficient.

-- Bathrooms are an easy place to "green." Chances are your bathroom fixtures are aging. Switch out your shower head for a low flow model and replace your standard toilet with one that has a duel flush function.

-- If you are looking for carpeting, opt for one that is made out of a material such as wool or hemp. Such fabrics are natural and completely biodegradable.

-- If you're updating your floors, opt for cork flooring. Unlike regular trees, which are chopped down to produce lumber, cork is harvested each year by shaving the outer bark of the tree (like the wool coat of a sheep). Not to mention, cork is sturdy, comfortable, and comes in many styles.

Hiring contractors to do work on your house takes a lot of your time, money and energy. If you are going through all of that trouble you might as well make the smart choice and have improvements done that will save the planet and potentially your pocketbook as well.

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