Did you know the average American family spends at least $2,000 a year on home utility bills? You can cut down your own expenses significantly by adopting energy-saving methods and implementing a few eco-friendly products. The experts at Power Home Remodeling Group, one of the nation's largest exterior home remodelers, recommend starting with:

1. Smart Appliances – For new installs or replacements, look for energy-efficient appliances and building products with ENERGY STAR labels. These products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

2. High-Tech Thermostats – Consider investing in a high-tech programmable thermostat, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, that learns from homeowner activity, programs itself automatically and helps save energy when no one is home.

3. Filter Swaps – A dirty air filter can make your heating and cooling systems work harder and use more energy. Be sure to regularly change the filter on your air conditioning and heating unit.

4. Intelligent Power Strips – Purchase an intelligent power strip geared toward saving more energy, like the Modlet. This device plugs into your wall outlet and connects to your computer or smartphone, allowing you to monitor how much energy your electronics and appliances are using when they're plugged in.

5. Recycled Water – Aside from inspecting your sprinkler system for leaks, consider collecting rainwater to water your landscape. Enhance your curb appeal in the process and purchase a rain collection system that can be camouflaged as a decorative piece on your lawn, such as a barrel, charcoal rocks or a flowerpot.

6. Low-E Windows – Replace single-glazed windows with low thermal emissivity windows to reduce heat transfer and keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Windows and doors should also be regularly checked to make sure they're properly sealed to avoid heat from escaping.

7. Light-Colored Roofs – Choose a light-colored roof or add a ridge vent to decrease heat transferred to the attic. At the very least, consider adding insulation to the attic to lower temperatures.

8. Dual-Flush Toilets – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, toilets consume up to 30 percent of a home's average water use. Replace your toilets with dual-flush alternatives to save water and money.

9. LED Light Bulbs – Replace CFL lights with LED lights, as they use less energy and last five times longer. You might also consider custom-made hardware that allows you to adjust your lights from your phone. Carnes Audio is one of many vendors that install these types of controlled systems.

10. Fans – Add ceiling or portable fans to your home to help circulate air and cut down on air conditioner use.

Source: Power Home Remodeling Group

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