Looking for ways to follow a more eco-friendly path? Working towards the end goal of having a zero-energy home — that is, a home that uses the same amount of energy as it produces — involves a lot of careful planning. However, jump on board the tips below, and you’ll quickly see smaller energy bills, shrinking water bills, and more.

Change out lightbulbs. A quick, simple change to energy-saving incandescent bulbs can immediately reduce energy expenditure by 25 percent. We love how light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use a fraction of the energy that conventional bulbs use.

If a room is unoccupied, everything should be turned off. This helpful habit is cost-free and can truly alter your energy consumption. Teaching your children and other family members to follow the same rule of thumb only multiplies the potential impact.

Add insulation to your home. Your basement and attic are the prime suspects when it comes to air leaks in the home. Visit the Energy Star website to learn more.

Seal holes and cracks. Cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors can also be causing additional air leakage. Investing in caulk and weatherstripping is a painless, inexpensive way to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Replace or restore old, single-paned windows. A huge cause of heat loss during the winter months, single-paned windows aren’t doing you any favors. Switching over to low-U-value, low-E windows can cut your heating bill by up to 25 percent.

Replace your out-of-date AC system. As the weather continues to warm, consider having your air conditioning system assessed for efficiency. The new standard seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) is 13 or greater, so look for that number when looking to install a new unit.

Opt for Energy Star-rated appliances. For your next refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer, do some research into getting appliances that are well up to the latest industry standards for energy efficiency. Again, look for that Energy Star label to ensure a quality purchase.

For more design ideas and to bring energy-efficiency to your home, we invite you to call 603-436-4274 and visit the TMS Architects portfolio.