When "green" means green !$!$!

Green means many different things to many different people. In homes, the goal is to create a healthier, more comfortable home through energy efficiency and conserving resources. I refer to this as smart building. The lowest common denominator in a smart approach to your home is directing your resources toward those modifications and remediation efforts that pay for themselves!

If your car was leaking gas, what is the first thing you would do? Plug the leak or put more gas into the tank to compensate for the loss? This illustrates the basic discrepancy that many think of first when approaching energy efficiency. I can't tell you how many times I hear someone's first step towards reducing their consumption is to install high cost improvements to supplement the energy they are losing/wasting in their homes. This report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy illustrates results that energy efficiency is the smartest investment in energy improvements. Sam Raskin, National Director of Energy Star for Home recently commented that plucking the low hanging fruit first often returns 20-30% on your investment. If I invest $2,000-$3,000 in the stock market right now, I certainly don't expect to make 20-30% on that investment. Neither does it make my home more comfortable or healthier.

The first step to identifying where you get the biggest bang for your buck is hiring an energy auditor to inspect and test your home to determine the physical strengths and weaknesses. Several federal, state and local tax credits provide additional incentives for you to improve your home. There are several financing products as well that pay for improvements with the savings in utility costs. These financial products are expanding every day and allow for the improvements without any additional out of pocket costs if approached smartly.