Many homeowners around the world want to reduce the energy consumption of their homes. The desire makes sense; reduced energy demands at home mean lower demand for the nonrenewable, C02-producing fossil fuels that run modern power plants. Since greater efficiency translates into lower gas and electric bills, some homeowners pursue eco-friendly upgrades with as much of an eye toward saving money as saving the planet. And in many communities, a home that features energy-efficient upgrades can command a higher selling price than its neighbors.
Eco-friendly upgrades aren't a complete win-win situation, however. As is often the case with new technology, some environmentally friendly home improvements are much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. In fact, some energy-saving appliances, if not chosen carefully, can cost you more than you'd save through their reduced energy use [source: Consumer Reports]. So how does a homeowner on a budget become more eco-friendly? There are a few key steps that can help.