How to boost home energy efficiency for less than $1,000

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    Going green may solicit an eye roll these days, but the smart homeowner knows that energy-efficient and green features can mean money in your pocket.

    "The energy-efficiency trend is highly driven by money," said Sandy Gordon, LEED-accredited interior designer at Madison, Wis.-based Sandy Gordon Interiors. "If we can tell our clients they'll save money, that's the ticket."

    Energy-efficient or green renovations can actually make a homeowner money by boosting a home's resale value.

    Resources for the Future, a research group that makes environmental policy recommendations, looked at several cities and found that certified green homes could command higher prices than their peers.

    They found that in Austin, Texas, certified homes sold for "9 to 20 percent more, all else equal. than non-certified homes, with the effects varying by house vintage," according to a study they released last year. In Portland, the effect was similar, with homes selling for 5 to 12 percent more.

    A study released this month by real estate listing service Redfin also found a bump in median sale prices when homes advertised green features -- a $47,600 bump to be exact. Those features include "solar panels, low-flow faucets, dual-pane windows, energy-efficient appliances, environmental ratings and certification programs such as Energy Star, 'Built Green' and LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design," according to the study.

    But most homeowners don't need to go full-certification or install pricey features like solar panels to see the positive impact of green home design on home values or energy bills.

    "There's a surprising amount of things people can do to green and save money in the process that are under $1,000," said Lino Carosella, an EPA-certified renovator and owner of Philadelphia-based Carosella Design Build Ltd.

    If you want to spend a little and save a lot, check out our tips that'll save money, and could potentially make money down the road.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist, best-selling book author, and radio talk show host who also hosts "Expert Real Estate Tips," a Internet video show. She owns ThinkGlink.com as well as Think Glink Media, a privately held company that provides consulting, content and video services companies and non-profit organizations.

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