First time homebuyers who want to go green but are worried they are going to need a second mortgage to afford it, can relax. Greening a home does not mean having to break the bank.

“If you don’t have a lot of money,” says Chris Winters, president of the Ontario Conservation Council, “you can look into the things that are actually going to save you money.”

In this sense, paying attention to your energy consumption isn’t just good for the environment; it can be healthy for your wallet as well.

“The quickest return on investments is in reducing your energy consumption,” says Winter. It’s a sentiment that is echoed Jed Goldberg, president of Earth Day Canada.

“Anytime you are using less energy you will be saving money.”

To help get home owners started, Earth Day Canada has set up a website under its eco-action team initiative. The site provides detailed programs to help users use water wisely, conserve energy, reduce waste, choose transportation alternatives and make greener shopping choices.

Eco-action programs are separated into beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and even provide an online calculator to help you track your ecological footprint.

“At the beginner level, the suggestions we make cost no money whatsoever,” says Goldberg, adding the changes to the environment and wallet are still significant.

Suggestions at the beginner level are as simple as adjusting the temperature in your fridge by two degrees, cutting five minutes of your shower time, and reducing the number of plastic bags in your home by using re-usable shopping bags.

Other resources on what you can do with your home are provided on, which offers a top ten list of actions that you can follow at home. The list includes: eating locally grown foods; lessening your dependency on cars by walking, biking and using public transportation, and growing native species in your garden.

“Your local horticultural club is full of people who are ready to advise you on plant shrubs and native species,” says Winter.

Utilizing the available resources, and making small adjustments is a great way for home owners to get started on the green path, and according to Winter, could even lead to more significant changes down the road.

“Start with the simple low cost stuff, and progress to the deeper lifestyle investments.”

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