real estate

Green remodeling fights home-value blues

Do the light thing
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Here's a green remodeling idea that's light on the wallet: Replace your old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

These bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 10 times longer, according to the Energy Star website. If your budget allows it, replacing age-old appliances with newer models can reduce overhead in your kitchen and laundry room.

When appliance shopping, look for Energy Star labels. Energy Star is a government-backed program that supports energy efficiency in home appliances and consumer products. Energy Star standards are set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. Among other things, the agencies measure how well the machines do their job, not just their energy efficiency. Also, if an appliance costs more than a less-efficient model, it must justify the added expense by proportionately lower utility bills.

How big are the savings? According to the Energy Star website, replacing a washer that's 10 years old or older can wring $135 from an average family's annual utility bills.




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