These 5 High-ROI, Energy-Efficient Upgrades Increase Your Home's Value
Energy efficiency isn't just for the planet's benefit—it can also have large, lasting benefits for your wallet. However, not every upgrade is equal when it comes to the return on the money invested. The following five options are among the top energy-efficient upgrades based on ROI.
Add a Programmable Thermostat
The heating and cooling costs in a home account for 35% to 45% of its energy costs. Using a programmable thermostat to reduce heaters and air conditioners can save 20% or more when they aren't needed.
Programmable thermostats usually cost between $50 and $150 and can save a household anywhere from $100 to $300 a year. This can offer a 200% return on investment in the first year. Be sure to program the thermostat properly to get the most benefit—about 70% of people who have programmable thermostats never program them. If you take the time to set them up properly, they'll reduce power usage when you are not at home to cut your electric bills. Smart thermostats cost more but are typically more user-friendly and provide remote control capability.
Switch to LED Bulbs
LED lighting uses 66% less energy than its incandescent counterparts. The bulbs now come in a range of colours, sizes and styles to fit any fixture. This includes full-spectrum lighting that gives the warm effect of natural sunlight inside the home. Most people recommend starting with one or two, then adding more to find the bulbs they like best.
Bulbs can last between 50,000 and 80,000 hours, which means infrequent replacement. By some estimates, LEDs have a 133% return on investment in their first year.
Update the Shower Heads
Low-flow showerheads have come a long way. The newer pressure-regulated high-efficiency models can reduce water use by around 40%. Water use goes from 2.5 gallons per minute to around 1.6. Even better, they still feel like a traditional showerhead without the excess water waste.
A replacement shower head will cost between $40 and $60. A family of four stands to save hundreds of dollars per year between reductions in their power bill and water bill. Look for phrases like "full spray pattern" to ensure that you get a type with newer high-performance features.
Upgrade to Water Efficient Toilets
Switching to a water-efficient toilet can save the average household between $50 and $100 a year on water and sewage bills. Older toilets can use as much as seven gallons per flush. Newer high-efficiency ones cut that usage down to around 1.6 gallons.
There are also dual-flush toilets that allow users to choose between a light .9 gallon flush and a full 1.6 gallon one. This allows even greater water savings, particularly in a large household. However, these toilets are more expensive, with units starting around $300.
Add a Blanket to the Water Heater
This home upgrade can be completed in a few minutes but has an over 100% payback in the first year.
To see whether it would be beneficial to add a water heater blanket, put your hand against the outside of your water heater. If you can feel the heat, that means it is insufficiently insulated. A blanket will keep heat in so the heater doesn't have to work as hard.
Save Now, Keep Saving Later
When it comes to making the home more energy-efficient, small changes can have a big payback. Most of these changes provide a 100% or more ROI in the first year. Each year after, the savings continue to add up, making it possible to keep more of your money in your pocket and reduce your electricity and water usage.
If you're looking to move anytime soon, buyers also appreciate energy-efficient upgrades. If you're looking for more upgrades that appeal to buyers, take a look at these eight high-ROI exterior improvements for your home.