Improving the energy efficiency of your home makes good economic sense now, by reducing your energy bills, and later, when you are ready to sell by making your home more attractive to buyers. On average, heating and cooling account for nearly half of a home’s energy use. Upgrading to an energy efficient furnace and air conditioner, for example, can have a big impact on both your energy savings and your home’s resale value.
The value and the length of time to recoup the costs of green upgrades depends on several factors:
- where you live
- which upgrades you’ve made
- how your home is marketed at sale time
- energy costs in your area
To evaluate which upgrades make the most sense for your particular home, start with an energy assessment or energy audit to find out how much energy your home uses. The Department of Energy website lists ways to find assessors in your area. Your utility company may offer an assessment for free or at a discount.
Here are some common energy upgrades, beginning with the least expensive.
Energy Star advises that homeowners can save as much as $200 per year on heating and cooling costs with air sealing and insulation improvements. Remodel magazine’s 2016 cost/value report, found that homeowners who made this type of improvement realized on average a 116% return on investment.
According to the Department of Energy, appliances account for 15% of a home’s energy costs. An Energy Star dryer can, in many cases, save $245 over the life of the machine.
3. Heating and cooling systems
Replacing your HVAC equipment is a big investment, but if your current system is more than 12 years old the savings achievable with a new, energy-efficient system are substantial — as much as 30%. Experts recommend replacing an old unit with the most efficient new one that you can afford in order to maximize savings.
Note: Xcel Energy is going to increase its high-efficient furnace rebate through March, worth up to $850.
Replacing windows is costly (anywhere from $8,000 to $24,000 potentially) but may be worth it in a cold climate — particularly if you are replacing old metal windows with vinyl. While the return on investment will likely not recoup the total cost of installing Energy Star-rated windows, doors and skylights, your comfort and energy savings (as much as 15%) will greatly enhance your enjoyment of your home.
5. Solar Panels
Solar panels are another green energy upgrade that can greatly reduce your energy costs. While the upfront costs are high, the energy savings and increased home value may be worth the expense. According to solar-estimate.org, payback for solar panels in Colorado (depending on your particular home and energy use) can happen in as little as 10 years.
When considering these various upgrades, keep in mind your energy usage and potential savings, lifestyle, budget, the location of your home, resale value and your comfort while you are living there.
For more information on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, contact IAQ Colorado today! IAQ serves homes in Highlands Ranch and the Denver Metro Area.