I recently read several articles on buyers and what they think is important when purchasing a home. Most consider energy efficiency as an important factor, especially  with those who are 40 and under.

Here a few things that you can do if you plan on selling or staying put that will help with your energy bill & the environment. Some are easy and inexpensive to implement, while others take more time and money. When buyers see 2 homes that are similar, energy efficiency just may just tip the scales in your favor.

1. Set up an appointment with a Home Energy Auditor. Start with contacting your utility company because many will do an free audit. I do this every time I move & then a few years later. They point out where you are loosing heat or cool air via windows, doors, attic, fire places, etc. and if you need to replace heating/air conditioning systems (HVAC), appliances or water heaters.

2. Have your HVAC systems serviced twice a year and ask them to check its efficiency and when it might need replacing.

3. Replace your appliances with energy-efficient appliances. This will help your monthly energy bill and may be very attractive to  future buyer.  For more info visit  www.energystar.gov.

4. Think about buying a tank less water heater.  In Europe these have been in use for many years. When I was a kid in Germany, we had one & that’s long time ago!! You can save a great deal.

5. Install ceiling fans. They can help reduce your energy bill both in summer & winter. I keep my fans on year round.  Installing one at the top of the stairs helps too.

6. Replace or add insulation and make sure that it is at recommended numbers or higher for your area. It will be mentioned in your audit.

7. Think about replacing your windows with double pane. It does cost a lot, which is why I put this at the end of this list. Maybe do some of them at a time or see if your window installer will set up an interest free payment plan. I know that Home Depot & Lowes do this from time to time. Also check with IRS for possible tax credits.

By the way, I have used these and other energy & water saving items for many years. I also have my GREEN (Environmental Real Estate designation) from the National Association of Realtors.