Submitted by Sara Majzun, President, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA)

With prices going up on goods and services across the board, you might be looking for ways to lower your household expenses. Now is a great time to think about making some home improvements so you can save money on your utility bills throughout the year. With approximately 13% of greenhouse gas emissions coming directly from buildings due to heating, cooling, and cooking needs, here are a few ways to both save money on energy and reduce your carbon footprint this year.

Get a Free Home Energy Assessment. An energy audit completed by a professional is a great first step to help benchmark where your home stands in terms of energy efficiency, and will give you a better sense of what actions you can take to help improve your home’s energy performance.

Weatherize Your Home. You can do this by sealing any noticeable cracks, particularly around leaky doors, and windows. Caulking these areas and weatherstripping can help air-seal troublesome spots in your house. For low- or moderate-income customers, you also might be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program to help offset costs.

Add Insulation. After you take steps to air-seal your home, adding insulation to your attic, basement, and walls can go a long way for saving money on electricity – the insulation helps keep the heat inside your house, also making your home more comfortable.

Make Window Improvements. Even if you do not have the upfront cash to upgrade your windows at the moment, less expensive options include caulking, weatherstripping, and adding thicker window coverings to keep you warm during the winter.

Reduce Phantom Loads. Phantom loads include electricity being used by appliances or devices purely because they are plugged into the walls, even if the device is on standby mode or off. Consider getting a programmable smart power strip, or simply unplug your devices whenever they are not in use.

Check Your Water Heater Settings. Chances are you have not touched your water heater in years. Try lowering the temperature to reduce your energy use.

Take Advantage of Your Blinds. To best take advantage of the sun, let the natural light in during the day to help heat your house, but close your curtains at night to help lock the heat in.

Close Your Vents and Doors. For rooms you do not use often, consider closing those vents and doors to help eliminate energy waste.

An NAHB Certified Green Professional (CGP)™ designation is a reliable way to identify builders, remodelers, manufacturers, and other industry professionals who are committed to making your home green. To find a CGP-certified professional to learn more about the latest energy saving techniques for your home, contact the NCBIA.

Visit our website – for a list of our members, as well as our new For Consumer section and job posting (under the About Us tab) and be sure to visit our Virtual Parade of Homes. Or give us a call Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 440-934-1090.

Our association is dedicated to promoting, protecting, strengthening, and informing our local home building markets and those who work within them to ensure we are, independently and collectively are a viable economic engine of growth now and in the future. Please feel free to use the NCBIA as a resource for any need that you may have, chances are we have a member that can assist you. Give us a call Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 440-934-1090 or visit our website for a list of our members  We are your local not-for profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Like us on Facebook – – or better yet share us.