Nowadays, energy-efficient home improvements are all the rage. But the reality of the situation is often overstated. Many energy-efficient home improvement projects might not work for your home or budget. What happens more often than not is the energy-efficient home improvements are installed and little return is recouped on the initial investment. So what gives? Which energy-efficient home improvements get the best bang-for-your-buck?
The answer to that question is not so simple. Depending upon the age and condition of your home-as well as your budget-energy-efficient home improvements can come in a wide variety of materials and investments scales. Making a correct and informed decision can be difficult at best.
Your budget is typically the controlling factor in deciding what energy-efficient home improvement works best for you and your home. One of the best questions you can ask yourself is; if you had $10,000, what energy-efficient home improvements would you choose?
You might think first of renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. However, many systems begin at twice that rate and often exceed the $50,000 price tag. How about new EnergyStar rated windows? At a cost of around $1000 a piece and nearly the same for labor costs, an average sized home can easily cost well over the $10,000 budget. So does that mean cheap energy-efficient home improvement projects are out of range for the average homeowner?
Absolutely not. For half of that budget, EnergyStar rated appliances can be installed, attic insulation can be upgraded and heating and cooling systems can be upgraded. But the question still remains, what energy-efficient home improvement is right for me?
A home energy audit from your local utility company or a private firm can help to answer that question. Priced anywhere from $300 to free, a home energy audit professional can help you solve the dilemma of what your home will really benefit from most. This typically involves smaller scale projects like sealing air leaks or fixing weak insulation spots.
The timeframe in which costs are recouped through energy savings, is also an important factor in determining which energy-efficient home improvements are also right for you-and your budget. For instance, a three to five year payback on sealing air leaks and installing upgraded insulation is nominal. On the other hand, installing low-E triple pane windows can take decades to recoup initial investment costs.
Regardless of your budget, installing energy-efficient home improvements is a constant process that saves money and energy, while increasing the overall worth of your home. Save the planet, lower your carbon footprint and save money, all at the same time.