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  1. Seems like everyone these days is trying to become a little greener. You probably already recycle and if you’re lucky, maybe have even upgraded to a hybrid car. But what can you do for your home? There is certainly an environmental benefit of conserving energy and resources and can help the earth stay clean, but in the end it also saves you money to improve your energy at home. There are small things you can start doing today and more long-term solutions that you can plan for in the near future to make your living space much greener and more wallet-friendly. Close Doors Any rooms or spaces in your home that you use on a minimal basis do not need to be consistently heated or cooled. Any spare rooms or even closets that you can close off means less space that you are using energy to heat or cool. Just by simply closing a door or two, you can cut down on heating or cooling costs depending on the season. Use Curtains In the wintertime as soon as the sun is up, open your curtains. Free heat! It will come in through your windows and warm your space so your heater is not working as hard. Likewise, in the hotter months, draw the shades during the warmer hours of the day so you keep the sun out and cool air in. This will decrease the use of central air and any air conditioning units that have a built in thermostat. Insulate It's pretty simple to do at least temporary insulation around your home. Quick weather stripping around doors and plastic covering over unused windows are quick and easy insulating jobs that take minimal time and money. Less obvious insulating options are things like using a propane tank Powerblanket and insulating any indoor duct systems. Lighten Up If you are building a house, or planning to replace your existing roof, choose a lighter color shingle for your roof. It's one of the things that many people don't think of, but darker colors attract sunlight which in turn attract heat which makes for a much more difficult time cooling your home in the hotter seasons. This is a more long-term solution, but can really make a difference in how much energy you spend. Tree Time Obviously, planting a tree at all is a long-term commitment and although you can get fairly mature trees, it takes time for most to reach the point of maturity to offer shade. But it's one of the greenest ways to add shade to your home in a natural and beautiful way. Try deciduous trees for great results, and see if you can add bushes for added shade as well. Install Smart Systems Many new homes come equipped with smart systems for everything, but you can start installing these same systems in your home especially for energy purposes. The easiest solution is a thermostat you can control from your smart phone to regulate temperature and energy use of your heating or cooling system even when you're not home. There are countless small and innovative ways to maximize your energy resourcefulness in your home. Some you can easily start today, and many you can start planning today. Either way, make a plan to have a greener dream home.