Make Your Home Green and Save Greenbacks

"This is an interior room, no windows. What makes it work is daylight," Zinner said, showing off a room that looked as if it were lit with traditional lamps.

Each solar light costs $400. Together, they save $20 a month in electricity.

Efficient Windows and Water Heater

Throughout the house, the Zinners installed tall windows and skylights so that during the day, the sun provided all the light necessary. The natural light cuts down on energy costs, but also makes the house more pleasant.

"There's energy savings, but also, it is a more comfortable, livable house when it is full of daylight," he said.

The windows and doors are insulated and dual-paned, with a low e rating for top energy efficiency. Together, they cost $3,000 and save the Zinners $50 per month.

A tankless water heater completes the house's collection of energy-efficient installations. It fits on the wall and warms only as much water as needed, so there's no energy wasted. The tankless heater costs $800 more than a regular heater, but saves $20 each month.

All of the Zinners' appliances are energy star rated. Though they're more of an initial investment, energy star appliances use far less energy than standard ones and save homeowners money in the end.

With a few small changes like those the Zinners made, everyone can make a new home or pre-existing one more green.

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