Did you know that a typical home can produce twice the pollution that a car produces over the course of a year?

You've probably noticed that green is everywhere these days. In the news, politics, fashion, and even technology. You can hardly escape it on the internet. Being green may have at one time been seen as just a trend.  But today it’s commonplace, not only to conserve resources and minimize our impact on the environment, but also to cultivate healthy living spaces and create balance in our lives.  As an added bonus – energy efficient homes can save you up to 30 percent on your electricity bills.

Many homes now are now being built green from the ground up.  But old or new, there are energy-savvy elements and designs that you can integrate at any time. Nearly every appliance can be upgraded to conserve energy or water: Front-load washers and low flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets, as well as refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, and dishwashers.

A major source of home energy drain is insulation and duct work. Make sure all windows and doors are properly caulked and insulated, and replace when necessary. Ducts are used to distribute air (hot or cold) throughout the house.  But in a typical home, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.

Green elements can also be woven into more aesthetic and creative projects. Strategically planting a tree to keep the home shaded, or designing a low-water use yard keeps your home appealing as well as water wise. Plan ahead and save storm water in rain barrels to use during summer months. You can also incorporate reusable resources (recycled glass, tiles) into various areas of your home.

For more info and ideas about making your home more energy efficient, check with your local utility company, or go to www.EnergyStar.gov and www.ProudGreenHome.com.