It’s no secret that having an energy-efficient home can lower your electric bill. But it can also increase the value of your home and buyers know it. In fact, many buyers are often willing to pay more for homes with “green” upgrades and that is great news for sellers.
As for how much the value of your home will increase depends on a couple of factors: where you live and which green upgrades you’ve made.
As for cold, hard numbers, in 2014 homes that were upgraded in Los Angeles County saw a roughly 6 percent increase in overall value. In 2015, upgraded homes in our nation’s capital experienced a 2 to 5 percent increase in value.
Where Do You Begin?
The first step in your home energy efficiency upgrade is to find out exactly how much energy your home uses. This will involve hiring an energy auditor who will recommend which upgrades need to be made. At the end of the audit, the auditor will give your home an energy rating (which determines how energy –efficient your home is) and how much it will increase if you perform the recommended upgrades.
To find auditors in your area, a good place to start your search is the Department of Energy website. Other sources of finding energy auditors include the Energy Star program from the Environmental Protection Agency and your local utility company.
How Much Does an Audit Cost?
In most cases, a full audit will run you between $300 and $500. However, your local utility provider may perform a home energy assessment for free or at a significant discount. The price may also be higher depending on the complexity or size of your home.
After the audit is complete, the next step will be to perform the upgrades that you can actually afford. It should be noted that you can receive tax credits for the upgrades you perform. You can also finance these improvements.
Which Upgrades Are Most Affordable?
- Upgrading your insulation can provide a 116 percent return on investment according to Remodeling magazine. The average attic insulation job costs about $1,268. An upgraded insulation system can save homeowners $200 a year in cooling and heating costs.
- Energy Star appliances. According to the Department of Energy, home appliances account for roughly 15 percent of your monthly energy usage. If you have older model appliances, consider purchasing newer Energy Star rated replacements. Here is a very important note: before buying new appliances, try to determine the kilowatt-hour usage of your current ones. Then compare those values to new ones you’re considering to buy.
Outside of the upgrades mentioned above, the energy auditor may suggest more expensive upgrades including heating and cooling systems, windows and solar panels. The bottom line in your decision making is simple: if the upgrades you consider making can significantly increase the value of your home, then those upgrades will be well worth the investment.