(ARA) – DIY. So last year. Now it’s GIY. As in green-it-yourself. And just like DIY projects, there are plenty of easy GIY weekend home improvement projects that will save energy and money and add value to your home. Oh, and we should mention you can help protect the planet while you’re at it.

Being green is easy and important. And fall’s a great time to tackle home improvement projects that will have an impact on the environment. People everywhere are taking small steps that make a difference in the fight against global warming. From buying energy-efficient appliances, to reusing grocery bags, to properly inflating tires, millions of Americans are clamoring to do their part for the earth.

So what are some GIY projects you can tackle now that will help save energy, money and the planet?

1. Insulating — One of the easiest GIY projects that delivers the biggest green payoff is upgrading your home’s insulation. By doing so, you can decreases your carbon footprint, increase your home’s energy efficiency and save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling energy bills.1 Yet, nearly 80 million U.S. homes are estimated to be under insulated to the Department of Energy (DOE) standards.

The Department of Energy recommends attics — where 30 to 40 percent of a home’s total energy loss occurs — have up to an R-value of 60. To meet these standards, your attic should have at least 19 inches of fiberglass batt (roll) insulation or 22 inches of blown insulation. A good rule of thumb — if you can see the wood beams (joists) in your attic, you definitely don’t have enough insulation. Even if you can’t see the joists, you still may not have enough and with nearly 80 million American homes under insulated it’s likely we or our neighbors could use more. Owens Corning, makers of recognizable PINK insulation, offers a step-by-step guide to adding insulation to your attic at www.InsulateAndSave.com.

2. Heating & Sealing — Reap the most benefit from the insulation upgrade you just finished by ensuring that your furnace, ductwork and weather stripping around doors and windows are in good shape.

While it’s a good practice to have your furnace serviced by a professional each year before winter, you can improve your furnace’s operation and efficiency. Change the air filters throughout your house every 30 days and regularly vacuum dust from air return vents. Lubricate the blower motor following the instructions in the furnace’s owner’s guide.

Check weather stripping around doors and windows and repair or replace any cracked or faulty stripping. Don’t forget stripping around garage doors and the door from the garage into your house, as these areas can be major heat drains for your home.

3. Lighting – Once you’re done with the two projects above, replace those incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs — like compact fluorescent light bulbs – to decrease the amount of electricity you use for lighting as much as 75 percent. It’s a simple task to go through your home and replace light bulbs.

Although energy efficient styles may cost more, they last longer than incandescent bulbs and conserve so much energy that they quickly pay for themselves. Each bulb will save you about $30 over its lifetime and produce 75 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs. If changing all bulbs at once seems daunting, ENERGY STAR recommends replacing the most-used bulbs in your home, such as overhead lights in the kitchen, table and floor lamps in the living or family room, and outdoor porch or post lamps.

For more energy-saving, GIY home improvement ideas, visit www.energystar.gov.

Courtesy of ARAcontent