5 ways to 'go green' on the cheap

Invest in home features with short payback period

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Architect Peter Pfeiffer has no patience for "eco bling."

That’s his term for the proliferation in the marketplace of pricey devices that promise consumers a greener "footprint" for their homes. Yes, he says, these goodies might have energy-savings potential, but many of them require dipping deep into one’s wallet and could take years to pay for themselves.

For homeowners who are building or doing major remodeling, he suggests, instead, that good design and planning can go a long way toward controlling energy consumption.