Take tax credits for going 'green'
Federal tax credits are available for homeowners who make energy-efficient home improvements through 2010, courtesy of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the stimulus bill signed by President Barack Obama.

The bill extends tax credits for those who install qualifying renewable-energy technologies, such as geothermal and solar-energy systems, through 2016. Here are some examples:

Through Dec. 31, 2010

Exterior/storm windows, 30 percent of cost, up to $1,500

Exterior doors, 30 percent of cost, up to $1,500

Energy Star-qualified metal roofs, 30 percent of cost, up to $1,500

Insulation (primary purpose must be to insulate; siding is excluded), 30 percent of cost, up to $1,500

Through Dec. 31, 2016

Geothermal heat pump, 30 percent of cost, not capped

Solar water-heating system, 30 percent of cost, or up to $2,000

Photovoltaic electricity, 30 percent of cost, not capped

Fuel cells, 30 percent of cost (must have efficiency of at least 30 percent and capacity of at least 0.5 kilowatt), $1,500 per half-kilowatt of power

For more details, see the Department of Energy's Energy Star's Web site at www.energystar.gov