Being ecological has the different meaning for each person. For some, it means obtaining LEED * certification; For others, it means installing an energy saving bulb *. The good news is that nobody is judging you (well, maybe the people certified by LEED are doing it a bit) and it also brings many benefits. While some federal tax credits for energy-efficient improvements expired on December 31, 2011, many federal tax refunds for EnergyStar qualified products are valid through December 31, 2016. Be sure to check federal and local government sources for Getting updated and correct information. Because green materials create healthier homes * and tend to work better in the face of disasters, some insurers also offer incentives. Here are six ecological improvements that will provide you with several benefits.1. Geothermal heat pumpsInstead of burning fuel, as a heater does, a geothermal heat pump * uses the stable temperature of the earth (about 55 ° F to six feet deep) to provide heating, air conditioning and in most cases, Hot water. These systems will save you between $ 400 and $ 1,400 per year, but the installation price is high (from $ 11,000 to $ 30,000). Federal tax refunds reimburse 30 percent of your costs to help a little. Check EnergyStar * for more information.2. Solar panelsSolar panels have great potential to save energy. Also, its great appearance will be the envy of your neighbours. Typically, panel installation costs between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000, but a 30 percent refund on your federal taxes, along with federal and local incentives, will save you money. Expect an investment return in a period of three to ten years, depending on how expensive the electricity is in your area.3. Bamboo floorsBamboo is friendly to the environment and your wallet since it is cheaper than real wood and is more sustainable (bamboo plants take five years to mature, while trees take 50 years). Also, it looks simple but elegant and is stronger than oak. Prices vary depending on whether you get solid bamboo or engineered bamboo.4. Recycled glass tilesDo you want to create a beautiful edge for your shower or place tiles in your kitchen? The recycled glass tiles are really beautiful, they come in opaque and subtle tones as well as in bright colours, and they will not make you fall into bankruptcy. They are cheaper than ordinary tiles, but they have the same quality.5. Low VOC paints, glues and finishesIn a remodelling project, each surface needs to be covered and sealed, which means there will be a lot of odours. Many products will release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for weeks, even months after the project is completed, so it is logical to try to minimise the level of toxicity. If you can not afford to become organic in all aspects, do it with some materials. The less you use those chemicals in your home, the better.6. Double-flush toiletsThese super toilets have two buttons instead of a single lever. The smallest switch is to get rid of the liquid waste (which, of course, requires less water) and the larger button handles solid waste. According to Sierra Club, a family of four can save 7,000 gallons of water per year by switching to a double-flush toilet. And they are not that expensive – you can get one for $ 250.If improvements to your home do not qualify for federal tax credits, ask your state government or local services about incentives. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency and remember that doing what is necessary to obtain a LEED * certification could lower the cost of your home insurance premiums.