Anita Gullo-Eardley Throughout March, we are focusing on green initiatives that help the planet while also improving your home. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite aspect of earth-friendly tips -- the ability to save money.

- High Efficiency Furnace -- Newer models can reduce heating costs by more than 50% when compared to previous generation units, resulting in a significant savings to your heat bill. New high efficiency oil furnaces are cleaner burning and require less maintenance. Act now to take advantage of the current tax credit up to $500 good through the end of the year.

- New Windows - Windows are one of the primary sources of heat loss in your home and one of the best items to increase resale value. ENERGY STAR qualified windows can help improve your comfort, cut drafts, and reduce fading of interior furnishings.

- Insulation/Ventilation - Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20% - and sometimes much more.

- Hot Water Tank - The newest models are much more energy efficient than they used to be, and are practically guaranteed to lower energy costs. Set too high, or at 140 degrees F, your water heater can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses. Set at 120 degrees F, you will save energy and money.

Check back later in the week for more cost saving tips.