When it comes to the holidays, nothing says welcome like a well-adorned home exterior. From wreaths to holiday lights to fresh greenery, even the simplest home designs can transform into magical settings with the addition of exterior decorating elements.

“Preparing for the arrival of holiday guests is a great reason to permanently warm up your home’s appearance and energy efficiency,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema, Pella Windows & Doors energy efficiency expert. “If your drafty old front door needs to go, replace it now to welcome guests and keep old man winter at bay. And to keep from throwing your hard-earned money out the window, replace cold, leaky windows with energy-efficient double- or triple-pane ENERGY STAR-qualified options to help lower your utility bills.”

Green on the inside

For a new twist on an old tradition, why not make the reason for this holiday season “green.” With some innovative thinking, there are dozens of ways to make your home, your celebrations, your decorations and even your gift wrap green. Here are a few green ideas from Pella Windows & Doors and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

A fresh evergreen tree is eco-friendly, as long as you plan to recycle it. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, most cut holiday trees are grown on tree farms, so their stock is replenished regularly. And used trees can be ground into woodchips to mulch your garden, help prevent erosion at a local watershed or provide fish and wildlife habitat. Be sure to check with local officials on area recycling plans and pick up schedules.

Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper, or the comics from your local newspaper. Consider giving gifts that don’t require much packaging, like concert tickets or gift certificates. Or choose gift bags that can be reused.

Send recycled-content greeting cards to reduce the amount of virgin paper used. Recycle paper cards you receive by using them as gift tags. For the ultimate in paper-saving, send electronic greeting cards.

About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away and can save money in the long run.

Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Doing so will save energy, and can also help your lights last longer.

Give yourself or your loved ones a gift that can return many happy green returns for years to come. If you’ve been putting off replacing your windows, there’s no better time than a green holiday season to reward yourself.

Pella Designer Series windows are rated No. 1 for energy efficiency among top national brands and offer unique distinctive designs for decorative panels, blinds or shades which fit between panes of glass. For the season, choose a whole new look with window treatments available in classic holiday colors like garnet, bordeaux, sage and pewter.

For more information on holiday spruce-ups that include stylish, energy-efficient windows and doors, or to schedule an in-home consultation, contact a local Pella Window & Door Showroom expert by calling (888) 84-PELLA or logging on to www.pella.com. Pella Designer Series wood windows and patio doors with triple-pane glass have superior NFRC U-values and SHGC. – Courtesy of ARA Content.

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