Sweat equity is the value you add to your home by adding features to it. You might add a new partition, a swimming pool or install new floors. Not one of those things would give you the added value of renewable energy.

Making your home more energy efficient has become a popular move for homeowners and this spring is the perfect time for you to do it. Not every upgrade we mention here will generate energy, but they'll all help you lower your energy bill at a time when megawatts are at a premium.

Go Solar

A larger project than the first two, this one hosts bigger payoffs. A well-planned solar system can allow you to run your electrical meter backward. Yes, it might cost the same as a small car, but in ten years it will have paid itself off. Plus, doing it now allows you to take advantage of government incentives that won't necessarily last.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Mandatory in many neighborhoods, low-flow shower heads, toilets, and faucets can cut your water usage in half. Since we now understand how quickly we use up the Earth's fresh water supply, the 50% consumption reduction that these offer is huge, and a money saver!

Refresh Your Windows and Doors

Many older homes don't use energy-efficient double-pane windows. That means thermal energy, hot or cold, moves in and out through the windows in your home and requires you to spend money heating or cooling it. Upgrading to more efficient new windows can have a real impact on your electricity bill.

Your doors are another culprit in the energy loss equation. In fact, your garage doors are the largest unsealed orifice in just about any home and can make a particularly bad offender. A new insulated and sealed garage door is a great way to save on energy.

Insulate Your Attic

Not nearly as novel as adding solar power, but a more affordable project that will pay dividends. Your home's climate is greatly affected by air movement in the attic. Adding insulation eliminates pockets of air, and helps the temperature in your home stay more stable. Just like new windows and doors, that means less money spent on energy.

Start Composting

Composting has been in practice for decades, and now many smaller households are catching on. Traditionally, compost was created using yard waste then packed into a heap which one might use to fertilize their lawn or new plants. The end use is still the same, but in smaller scale examples, people use small bins that can be agitated to stir compost and transplanting the fertilizer to their garden.

Time to Maximize Energy Efficiency

Use one or all of these five tactics to up your home's energy efficiency this spring. Some take more work than others, and that's the beauty of energy consciousness. With many ways to contribute to energy efficiency within your home, it's simple to begin taking small steps in the right direction.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington