Insulated wall

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Mistake #3: Under-Insulating
I hear from a lot of green-loving homeowners about their big plans: They talk about wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal wells, hybrid home appliances. While there's no reason not to dream of drilling 300 feet down in the front yard, it's just as important to make sure you have the basics covered, especially adequate insulation. Standards have changed over time, which means most homes don't have nearly enough. The right amount of insulation can lower your heating and cooling bills by 20 percent (not to mention it's easier and cheaper to install than your average wind turbine).

Your attic should have between 19 and 22 inches of blown-in or batt insulation. If you're nervous about working with yards and yards of the itchy pink rolls, look for poly-encapsulated products. These are encased in a layer of plastic to reduce exposure to fiberglass particles. Also, the weave of the fiberglass is longer and more cotton-like, leaving fewer particles to escape into the air to become a respiratory irritant.