By taking on strategic home remodeling projects and taking advantage of special insurance discounts, you can save a bundle while doing your bit to minimize your impact on Mother Nature.
The Boston Globe lists several “Changes that pay” when it comes to home improvements, and while some of the info is Massachusetts-specific, most applies no matter where you live. There are plenty of ways to get free energy audits of your home, and all sorts of tax credits and incentives help keep the costs down for energy- (and money-) saving projects like adding insulation and putting in energy-efficient windows, replacing old appliances with new energy-efficient models, and installing solar panels [http://money.blogs.time.com/2009/08/19/going-green-just-got-more-cost-effective/].
The WSJ, meanwhile, writes that the benefits of green practices go beyond conserving resources and trimming energy bills:
In recent years, insurers have introduced hundreds of discounts, credits and new products aimed at encouraging consumers and businesses to use energy more efficiently and to adopt more environmentally friendly sources of energy. There are discounts for owners of hybrid and electric vehicles, discounts for homeowners who add solar panels, even new kinds of policies that offer emissions producers coverage for the capture and storage of carbon.
The most obvious, sensible discount is one given to drivers who don’t drive all that much. You can save as much as 60% off of your auto insurance premiums by keeping the mileage under a certain minimum. There are also discounts on homeowner policies, starting with the construction of the home itself:
Insurers offer discounted policies to encourage new structures that use eco-friendly materials, designs and technology—the results of which are often healthier for inhabitants and more resilient in disasters.
Cash for Caulkers?