As the host of the popular Mr. Fix-It
program on Chicago's WGN Radio, Lou Manfredini is one handyman every homeowner wants on their side. He's also a leader in helping people make eco-friendly home improvement decisions. Jean talks with Lou, who's also a regular contributor to NBC's Today
show, about some simple things you can do in your home that are good for both the environment and for your wallet.
- Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs. According to Lou, if every home in America changed five regular lightbulbs to compact fluorescents, companies would build 21 fewer power plants, 81 percent of which are fired by pollution-generating coal. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also last longer than regular light bulbs, saving you money in the long run.
- Have home heating and cooling systems inspected annually. A qualified technician can ensure units are running at peak efficiency and that they're safe, Lou says.
- Install inexpensive programmable thermostats. By manipulating temperatures in your home when you're at work or asleep by no more than eight degrees, Lou says you can save up to 20 percent on the energy that you use to heat and cool your home.
- Go for classic looks when redecorating. Materials with a timeless appeal such as wood- or granite-like countertops and cabinets and stainless steel appliances will not only look better longer, they will also help your home's value when you decide to sell, Lou says. Plus, he says you can achieve durable, beautiful looks with the latest eco-friendly building materials such as bamboo or marble-like linoleum.