As we reflect on Earth Day, it is the perfect time to consider ways to make your home more green.  Not only will you be helping the earth, but you just might help your wallet too. We emphasize helping our environment on Earth day, so why not start at home with some earth-friendly updates? Below are a few of my recommendations, they can help you save money and will also add to the value to your home.

Here are a few ways to bring Eco Design into your life:  

- Update your HVAC - Often heating and cooling uses the most energy in homes.  By updating your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), you can conserve the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home.  This is a costly option, but an updated HVAC should also lower your monthly energy bills.     

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- Change light bulbs to LEDs - LEDs last longer than incandescent light bulbs and also use a fraction of the energy.  Although LEDs cost more up-front, in the long run you will save money.   

- Replace windows - Energy efficient windows have better insulation, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  This reduces the amount of energy you need to heat or cool your home, which in turn can reduce your monthly bills.   

- Plant trees - Aside from the obvious benefit to the ecosystem, planting native trees on your property will also provide more shade to your home.  By blocking out added heat from the sun, planting trees can reduce the energy required to cool your home, as well as reduce your bills.   Another bonus is that landscaping adds to the value of your home.  

- Consider better insulation - Good insulation can offset your heating bills and reduce the energy used to heat your home..  

- Look into low energy appliances - Low energy appliances can reduce your home’s energy consumption.  And new appliances will add value to your home.   

Adopting even one of these recommendations is a great start toward living a green lifestyle. But it is also important to note that these eco-friendly updates will also add to the value of your home, putting you in a better position when it comes time to sell.  

Eco design is good for the environment, and it can also help you see more green in your wallet.

Shira Rost is a local real estate expert, with a passion for all things "home." For more information please call Shira at 973-768-9003, or visit www.ShiraRost.com.