Spring is a season of sunshine, flowers and most importantly, home improvement projects. If you've found your way to this article, it's likely that you have big plans around the house. Maybe it's time to build that deck or clean your garage. Maybe you're not sure what to do, and you're just ready to do something.

IN PICTURES: Home Renovations That Don't Pay

No matter your plans, consider optimizing your home's energy efficiency. With time and strategy on your side, your projects can help you trim the baggage off your bills. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Money-Saving Tax Tips For Students
5 Easily Avoidable Vacation Budget Busters
5 Unconventional Savings Strategies

1. Buy an energy use monitor.
While surprises are nice, it's pretty terrible when you get a surprise on your energy bill. As much as you may try to save money by turning off the lights, the task is tough if you're not setting concrete goals for yourself. So, figure out how much you're spending, and set goals to reduce those costs over time. You'll be in a better position to save if you can see the numbers in action.

2. Replace your power strips.
Even when you're not using your computers, televisions, and other appliances, they are still using energy - what a waste! Don't let your zombie appliances cost you more money than you need to spend. A smart power strip can be purchased for as little as $30, but keeps your vampire appliances from sucking you dry all year long.

3. Rethink your water bottle.
Many people buying bottled water for its convenience and clean taste. Instead, opt for a water bottle with a self-filtering mechanism so you can filter the water that comes from your tap and enjoy it for pennies a glass.

4. Be smarter about your utilities.
If your utility bills are climbing the best way to cut those costs is to find out what's causing them. Use an online electric, gas and water monitor to keep track of how you're spending. Start out with Google PowerMeter, which is available for free.

5. Replace your light bulbs.
Take a moment to count the number of light bulbs in your home. You've probably never thought about your ceiling and floor lamps from that perspective, have you? Now, imagine how much energy you might be wasting. Next time your bulb reaches the end of its lifespan, upgrade it with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent model. In addition, utility companies occasionally offer rebates for energy efficiency projects. Contact your provider directly, and check to see if any programs are available in your area.

IN PICTURES: 6 Ways To Save Money This Summer

6. Install low-flow shower heads.
From sprinkler systems to showers, it's easy to run up a water bill. A low-flow shower head is an affordable way to cut down your home's water use. In a nutshell, these work by reducing the pressure on flowing water. Less pressure means less flowing water that ultimately costs you money. If you don't want to spend $40 on a new shower head, you can start by making an effort to stop using water at full blast.

7. Use a fan.
Even though springtime means sunshine, the weather doesn't necessitate an air conditioner. Save the luxury for the summer when you really need it and stick to a fan this spring. If you're revamping your home's climate system, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This will help you monitor your home's energy use when those air conditioning expenses start to grow.

The Bottom Line
Plan your goals before delving into a home improvement project. Do you want to save money? Do you want a more environmentally efficient home? How about both? Once you answer these big questions, you'll be ready to work through the small details. Even if a project is easy and inexpensive, the investment will take you further when you have the big picture in mind.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    10 Ways To Budget When You’re Broke

    Budgets are some of the best financial tools around – when planned properly and followed faithfully.
  2. Savings

    7 Ways to Trim Fat from Your Spending

    Check out these seven ways to cut the fat from your spending.
  3. Savings

    7 Millionaire Myths

    Here are seven millionaire myths and realities that reveal they don’t quite have it all.
  4. Budgeting

    How To Save Money When Moving

    Moving doesn't have to be as expensive as you think. Here are some great ways to save money on moving costs.
  5. Savings

    Easy Ways to Go Green and Stay Budget Friendly

    Social entrepreneurs recruit "skeptics" to team green, by providing economically efficient products and services that minimize consumers' carbon footprint.
  6. Investing

    Top Investment Banks In The Energy Industry

    Many global Investment banks are highly involved in the energy industry, but there are also some smaller banks and boutiques that are strong players.
  7. Budgeting

    The Hard Way We Pay For Convenience

    Convenience is a luxury. However, any cost-conscious individual should be aware of these ridiculous ways we pay for convenience and how to avoid them.
  8. Stock Analysis

    The 6 Biggest Russian Energy Companies

    Learn about the top energy companies in Russia, a country that holds some of the largest reserves of oil, natural gas and coal in the world.
  9. Home & Auto

    5 Luxurious Ways to Boost Your Home's Resale Value

    Not all renovations are created equal. Here are five that are most likely to make a property appreciate (and be appreciated by househunters).
  10. Budgeting

    How to Cost Effectively Spend on Baby Clothes

    Don't let your baby's wardrobe derail your budget. These top tips help you to save money and spend wisely on baby clothes.
  1. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the range of deductibles offered with various health insurance plans?

    A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I know how much of my income should be discretionary?

    While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I use the rule of 72 to estimate compounding periods?

    The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!