'Green' homes can make you more green
When looking at resale values, there are certain improvements that bring a decent return on homeowners’ investments: new siding, bathroom remodels and wooden decks (76.7, 70, and 82.8 percent return respectively). But there are certain energy-efficiency projects that add value as well (one can even make you money!).
According to the U.S. Green Building Council and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, homes that were certified energy-saving “green” sold for 6 to 8 percent more than non-green homes in the Austin-Round Rock market between 2008 and 2016. Across the nation, energy-efficient-designated homes have a 2 to 6 percent sales premium, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE).
To break down the numbers, certified homes brought in an additional $3,416 to $8,882 over non-green homes according to the Department of Energy, or $2.99 to $13.82 per square foot for every dollar saved on annual electricity bills from efficiency investments. Studies complied and released by the USDOE show they sell faster as well, by 18 to 89 days.
Before you scramble to turn your home totally “green,” and we’re not talking paint or siding colors here, consider where you live — the price they can bring depends greatly on location and, of course, housing market conditions.
Even if you’re not planning on selling your home in the near future or you have no idea where your home fits on the green spectrum, there are several energy-friendly improvements that can help keep you comfortable and save money on your energy bills to boot.
If you are considering making energy improvements in your home, here are some projects to consider:
- Attic insulation — In 2017, homeowners recouped more than what they paid (107.7 percent) for fiberglass installation in the attic, according to the home improvement website remodeling.hw.net’s cost-versus-value national data. Not many home projects return more than what you pay, so this is a great place to start. Homeowners should always insulate from the top of the home down, anyway, since most air escapes out of the top.
- Front door — If you replace your older, inefficient entry door with an energy-efficient steel version, you’ll get back 90.7 percent, according to the cost-versus-value data. A fiberglass door got a 77.7 percent return in 2017. While that may not sound great, compare it to a mid-range bathroom remodel, which brought a 64.8 percent return.
- New windows — In 2017, upscale wood and vinyl window replacement brought about the same return: 73 and 73.9 percent, respectively.
For more information, visit SafeElectricity.org.