Going energy efficient on the least amount of money

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - In honor of Earth Day millions around the world are taking steps to use less energy. So KBOI decided to find out how to get the most energy upgrades for your home while using $100 or less.

We went to The Home Depot to find out which projects would save residents the most money.

With about 40 percent of all energy home consumption coming from heating and cooling experts say sealing up your home is the first place to start.

"The biggest thing you can do to make your home energy efficient is to get it sealed up," said Joe Erickson of Home Depot. " Start with that first with some weather stripping get that taken care of. Getting to those drafty points in your house cleaned up for the most part."

While there we picked up calking material, weather stripping for a door and plastic coverings for windows. Total cost was around $25.

It's hard to calculate the energy savings, but with so much energy wasted on heating and cooling, most residents will likely see a savings on their winter and summer bills.

For those who like to take hot showers they should realize that heating water is about 20 percent of monthly energy use.

Saving energy on that can be as simple as putting a specialized blanket over the water heater which helps it retain it's heat.It's payoff can come in less than a year depending on how much you use it, and weather you have a gas or electric unit.

Lighting is the next simple step to saving on electric bills. There are several options people can choose both of which will save money.

Compact Florescent Bulbs are now the least expensive bulbs. Although some of their draw backs is that most can't dim, and do have a small amount of mercury in them.

Thanks to technology LED bulbs are now much cheaper, and more abundant then they were just a few years ago. We found one that was only $7 each. Not only do they use 90 percent less energy than an incandescent, and last over 20 years.

There is even a website that will calculate how long it will take for an LED bulb to pay itself off. In most cases it's about a year and a half.

The federal government has also set up a website to help people find other ways to save money and become more energy efficient.