Which High-ROI Energy-Efficient Upgrades Can You Add to Your Home?
When it comes to getting the biggest return on investment, or ROI, not all home improvement projects are created equal. This is especially true for energy-efficient upgrades. To add the most value to their homes while improving energy efficiency across the board, homeowners have to first figure out which renovations will pay off. To help them achieve that goal, here's a look at the top high-ROI energy-efficient upgrades.
Drafty windows can let out up to 30% of the home's heat or cool air, leading to high gas and electricity bills each month. Replacing them can save homeowners big and improve the look of their house. The largest gains come from choosing ENERGY STAR labeled windows with high performance reviews from the National Fenestration Rating Council. New windows not only make a big difference in the energy efficiency of the home, but they also offer a huge ROI of around 78%.
When it comes to curb appeal, there is nothing more striking than a brand-new steel front door in a color that complements the home's paint job. Better yet, steel doors greatly improve energy efficiency when installed at all exterior openings. The installer needs to replace the seals and caulk around the edge of the frames to keep drafts out of the equation. For each door that homeowners install, they can expect a 101% return on this smart investment.
Much like windows and doors, energy efficient insulation can keep heat transfer to a minimum and decrease the home's carbon footprint. As more of the indoor air stays inside, the furnace and air conditioner can cycle on and off much less frequently. This decreases the amount of power the home uses to save a lot of money in the long run. Plus, with a 117% ROI rate, this improvement virtually pays for itself.
Turning the thermostat down at night greatly decreases power usage of the household throughout the year. For 10% savings, all it takes is a decrease of about 10 degrees for around eight hours a day. If homeowners want to make that change, then a programmable thermostat is the way to go. These devices automatically adjust the temp range on the given schedule to save money while keeping the home comfortable. It is a low-cost upgrade that offers an excellent return within a year of its purchase.
Tankless Water Heaters
Conventional water heaters use tons of energy to heat up their entire tank each time someone runs the tap. If the water is not immediately used, it loses its heat and even transfers it into the room, often resulting in additional cooling costs. By switching to a tankless water heater, homeowners can avoid these problems and reduce power usage by up to 34%. If they go one step further and hook up a standalone tankless water heater to each faucet, they can save up to 50%. Depending on the household size and typical water usage, the power savings can end up paying for the system in less than five years.
When households switch to solar panels, they can completely eliminate their dependency on the public power grid and even feed the excess back into the system. Although it is a big commitment, the freedom from high power bills often makes it all worthwhile. Homeowners typically receive their investment back in energy savings within seven years, then enjoy free electricity from there on out. With solar panel systems lasting up to 25 years, that is 18 more years of free power after paying off the funds spent on its install.
Energy Star Appliances
Old appliances can be true energy hogs, using far more power than necessary to get the job done. The absolute worst offenders are:
- Clothes washer and dryer
- Chest freezer
Thankfully, homeowners can pick up new models that promise to pay for themselves over time through their energy savings. To decrease their power usage the most, homeowners should select appliances with an ENERGY STAR sticker. With this move, they can save up to 30% on the power used to run their appliances. Over time, the savings will offset their purchase cost while homeowners enjoy better reliability and ease of use from having new equipment.
When completing these high-ROI energy efficiency improvements, homeowners can add value to their house while minimizing their carbon footprint. They may also save quite a bit over time by decreasing their electricity and gas bills. This not only keeps more money in the bank, but also provides true peace of mind that their power usage is as low as possible.