Storm doors and window sunscreens are a relatively inexpensive way to reduce your carbon footprint while improving the value of your home. Storm doors are available in a variety of materials and styles. Window sunscreens protect your privacy while allowing you to see outside easily.

Storm doors are available in the following materials and styles:

Wood: Some of the more elaborate styles are created from wood. Wooden doors are among the most aesthetically appealing, but they do require maintenance in the form of painting every year or so. Waterproofing might also be required if the door is in direct sunlight and regularly hit by rain.

Aluminum: Aluminum is very lightweight, and corrosion resistant. Some aluminum storm doors are very thin and only support the weight of a screen where others must be sturdy enough to support a glass panel.

PVC or Fiberglass: PVC and Fiberglass are extremely corrosion resistant. They may be molded to provide the appearance of wood grain or some other material. Both are very sturdy and can easily provide a safe housing for full glass panels as well as full screen panels.

Full View: Full view means the full length of the door is see-through; either glass or screen. Some are interchangeable, allowing you to switch out screen or glass depending on weather or the season.

Ventilating: A style that allows ventilation may have a glass panel that opens and closes to allow ventilation, or it may be a full screen. Another option for a ventilating storm door is 2 glass panels that slide open from the top and bottom.

Whatever style and material storm door you choose, it will help protect your home from the elements during bad weather. It will also allow sunshine to enter the home to help with heating on nice, but cool, days. Let the nice cool breeze in during good weather so you don't have to run the air conditioner or heat pump.

Window sunscreens are available in several designs and colors to match nearly any decor. They're light weight and created with Textilene, a weather resistant material that helps protect your home from the prying eyes of passersby. You can still see out, but others cannot see inside your home.

The sturdy 1 inch mounting frame is designed to match the window frames on the inside of the home for a nice, snug fit. The sun's UV rays are reflected away from the home to help keep the inside of the home cool. Many people report savings of 20 to 30 percent on electric bills after installing window sunscreens with Textilene.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint and Save Money

Home improvements are rarely cheap. Fortunately, tax credits are available for individuals who are environmentally conscious enough to put forth the effort to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to savings of 40 percent or more simply by installing new window sunscreens and storm doors, you'll be able to take advantage of tax credits available in 2011.