Regardless of what you think of the political side of the green movement, a one thing is certain: going green in your home can save you a lot of money down the line, getting you maximum return on your investment. And going green doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 5 easy ways you can increase the energy efficiency of your home.

1.  Get New Light Bulbs — Probably the simplest thing you can do to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to swap out old incandescent light bulbs with new compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). While these might cost more up front, CFLs use about 66% less energy than normal light bulbs. They also last about 10 times longer. A single bulb will save you about $30 in energy costs over its lifetime. Now, imagine how much money an entire house full of these bulbs will save you…

2.  Seal Cracks Near Doors and Windows — One of the biggest sources of home energy waste is air seeping out through cracks near doors and windows. When air leaks out, this forces your air conditioning system to work harder to maintain a comfortable environment. This means higher energy bills for you as well as a shorter lifetime for your air conditioning system. Take a trip down to your local home improvement store to buy some weather stripping for a few bucks. It will more than pay for itself over the next few years.  This is an easy to do, quick home improvement for most homeowners, but if it intimidates you hiring a local handyman service will also pay for itself as the job will save you on your energy bills for years and probably only cost 1-2 hours of time from the handyman.

3.  Buy Green Appliances — Old refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, dish washers, and washer/dryer systems weren’t designed to be energy efficient. So, if you still have outdated versions of these appliances, you’re using 10%-50% more energy than you would be with Energy Star rated appliances. Simply swapping out your old refrigerator can save you up to $150 in electricity in a single year.

4.  Repair Leaky FaucetsAccording to the EPA, fixing a faucet that drips one time per second can save you more than 3,000 gallons of water over the course of a year. So, next time you hear a little drip in the sink or tub, don’t ignore it. Fix it so you can save water and money.

5.  Use Surge Protectors — Between TVs, DVD players, coffee makers, computers, and cable boxes, your appliances are constantly sucking up energy all day long—even if they’re turned off. See, most appliances are in standby mode even when they’re turned off. For this reason, you should invest in surge protectors. With a surge protector, you can simply turn the switch off each night before you go to bed to save a bundle of money from paying for electricity for appliances you aren’t even using.