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Become Utilitarian
When it's time to replace an appliance, choose a model that has the Energy Star approval rating. One of the biggest energy hogs is the refrigerator; an energy-efficient model could shave $55 a year off your utility bill, which means you'd recoup the extra purchase price of a mid-range fridge in just two or three years. And check with your electric company to see if it's one of the many that will offset some of the extra cost (usually about 15 percent) of an energy-efficient model; to find other types of energy-saving incentives, go to dsireusa.org. Also, certain green-home projects completed by the end of this year may be eligible for a federal tax credit—so be sure to save your receipts.
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