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  1. The earth is currently going through a lot of challenges. This includes global warming, extreme weather, pollution and more. If these challenges are to be overcome, it’s going to require action from everyone. This certainly includes homeowners. There are steps you can take as a homeowner to lessen your impact on the environment. Below are four strategies for making your home more energy efficient. Upgrade Your HVAC System One of the biggest drains on your energy efficiency is your heating, ventilation and cooling system, also known as an HVAC system for short. According to Derek Sawyers Smart Energy Heating & Air, your system should probably be upgraded if it’s older than 15 years. Newer HVAC systems run much more efficiently. This means increased energy efficiency and lower utility bills every month. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs Another idea you should consider to increase your home’s energy efficiency is upgrading your light bulbs. Traditional incandescent light bulbs run very hot. This means they use a lot of energy and also wear out much faster as well. Newer compact fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, run much cooler when producing the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. According to the US Department of Energy, compact fluorescent lights use 25 to 35 percent of the energy that incandescent lights do. They last significantly longer as well. Upgrade Your Windows Another source of energy inefficiency in your house could be your windows. Older windows especially tend to leak a lot of air. This means that your furnace will have run much harder to keep your home heated during the winter. It also means your air conditioner will have to work much harder to keep your home cool during the summer. If your windows are significantly old, consider upgrading them to more energy efficient windows. Program Your Thermostat Many people run their HVAC system too often. This wastes energy and results in high utility bills. Instead of running your system all the time, program your thermostat so the heat or air only runs when it’s needed. You, for example, don’t need to run your air conditioner as much when you’re at work and your kids are at school. The carbon footprint of homes certainly has an adverse effect on the environment. If everyone took the steps outlined above, however, some of that negative impact could be curbed. Don’t stop here. There are plenty of more strategies you can use to increase your home’s energy efficiency.