Where I last left off, we had been on a tour of the property at Stiggy’s Dogs in Howell, MI and had breakfast with Home Depot CEO Frank Blake. That was a pretty amazing start to the Celebration of Service event!

But then it was time to get down to business. I could not believe the amount of demo and re-construction that had already been done before we got there.

Among other major improvements, the plan was to create a new living room and kitchen, and to enclose the dining room to use as a bedroom (the veteran training with the dog stays on the property).

A new bathroom was being put in as well. SO many people were working diligently in orange!

In addition to reworking the layout of the house to better suit the needs of Stiggy’s, Team Depot and volunteers focused on implementing some energy saving measures. Energy efficient updates save money in both the short term and the long term, so overall these projects reduce the facility operating costs AND the impact on the environment.

The first energy saving update I want to share with you is the Programmable Thermostat! We actually already have two in our home (read here for that tutorial), so I was familiar with the benefits. But even in the short time since we installed ours, they have made more improvements. Imagine my excitement when I found out that Honeywell makes a version that has WiFi. Oh yes, you can program this bad boy from your celly.

A programmable thermostat is a great way to save on your heating and cooling, because it allows you to set the temperature higher or lower (depending on the season) when you’re out of the house. Many people choose an 8am-5pm weekday style set up, but you can customize it to fit your schedule. We have been using the built in program, and it works great for us. When used as directed, it offers up to 33% in energy savings. The touch screen WiFi model has settings for every day of the week, which you can access on-the-go from your smart phone or computer using a free app. I seriously think I squealed with delight (and there are witnesses) when I found out we were getting one to try in our own home.

This thermostat is pretty sweet, and we’ll be installing it here in the next few weeks. But, it just so happens I have one extra here lying around….that I’m going to GIVE AWAY! Yup, one of you can win this Honeywell programmable thermostat, valued at $149! I’ll be hosting the giveaway soon, so keep your eyes out 🙂

A programmable thermostat is a great addition to your home, but it’s by no means the only way to save on energy costs! Here are some easy, inexpensive things you can do in your home this weekend-seriously, this weekend- for small beans.

Re-caulk all of your exterior windows. Don’t let your heat or AC  slip through the cracks (it’s punny, but it ain’t funny).

I already exclusively use DAP brand caulk for all of my indoor projects…but I had no idea they had an exterior latex version that becomes water resistant in just 30 minutes. That’s super speedy, so there’s no excuse not to get this task done before the cooler weather makes you turn up the heat.

Replace all light bulbs with energy efficient CFLs. Get your wiggle on.

For just pennies more per bulb, CFLs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb-saving homeowners up to $220 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Plus, they last over 10 times longer than their prehistoric counterpart, which means less ladder climbing for those hard to reach lights. But for those REALLY hard to reach places (especially outdoors), try LED bulbs, which can last between 20 and 30 years depending on the wattage!

And when the time finally comes around to change your bulbs, you can recycle them at any Home Depot.

Lastly I want to talk about changing the filter in your air handler. Granted I am totally guilty of letting this go…but it can lead to major problems if you don’t do it regularly. And when I say major, I mean more expensive than an $11 filter you only have to remember to change every 3 months. It’s like it was made for me!

But actually, our unit has an oddball size filter, so I was happy to learn that these filters can be cut to size. You can also purchase washable filters which further reduces the cost over time, and keeps more out of the landfill!

So there you have it, Part 2 of my Stiggy’s and Home Depot Foundation adventure. Stay tuned for more details and projects and of course, GIVEAWAYS!

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Disclosure: The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration of Service Blog Network. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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