Make Your Home Energy Efficient for 2013
Posted by Bill True on
Everyone knows that "greening" a home can reduce energy expenditures now and increase resale value later.
Spring is a great time to make your home more energy efficient, whether you’re selling (energy-efficient homes sell faster, and for more) or staying (energy costs are going up). As housing recovers, many sellers are making their homes environmentally-friendly to increase their value before putting them on the market. But after you've changed the bulbs and put timers on the appliances, what next? Here are several other ways to “green” your home for 2013:
Low-flow toilets and shower heads, programmable thermostats, and compact florescent lights quickly pay for themselves. A 1.3-gallon per flush model toilet can save you $100 a year, and a showerhead shutoff button, which can reduce water bills by 16%, can be bought for $10 and installed in 5 minutes.
A study published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2011 says solar panels really can pay off. Researchers compared prices of 2,000 solar homes sold between 2000 and 2009 to prices of 70,000 similar homes without solar panels. On average, panels added $5.50 per watt to a home's resale value. Thus, a 3.1-kilowatt solar system can add about $17,000 to a home's value. On existing homes, panels boosted resale value by more than $6 per watt. On new houses, solar panels increased resale value to $2.60 per watt. Another report, from ICF Consulting, found that a $1,000 per year saving on energy costs can add to a home's resale value as much as $20,000. Because energy savings rise as electricity costs rise, the value of panels appreciates over time.
Solar panels aren’t for everyone. Some don’t like the look. Others dislike the maintenance. If you decide on solar panels, follow these tips:
1. Find out if your local or state government offers a rebate or tax credit for solar panels. Local power companies also sometimes offer incentives.
2. Find a licensed, experienced, professional installer, and get references.
3. What warranties are provided? If you sell, do they transfer to the new owner?
4. Does the installer offer inspections, adjustments, and trouble-shooting?
Florida is "the Sunshine State," so solar panels make sense for many Florida homeowners. If you're selling, it's a great way to get an advantage in a competitive market.
Planting native trees, flowers, and shrubs removes any need for excessive watering; these plants thrive in natural climates. Xeriscaping uses the least water; information on xeriscaping is available online or through most state departments of agriculture.
Cool Your Roof:
Cool roofs are light in color and save energy by reflecting rather than absorbing light and heat. Study after study shows energy savings from simply making a roof light-colored. A black asphalt roof can hit 150 degrees on a summer day, making rooms hotter and ACs work harder. A cool roof can be 50 to 60 degrees cooler.
Use paints with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s not much more costly, but it can be a huge draw: some buyers are especially sensitive and can’t even consider homes without non-VOC paint. Retailers can help you find non-VOC paint that's right for you.
Ceiling fans are ideal for many rooms and open areas. A ceiling fan uses less energy than an AC, is easily installed, and cools comfortably. Installation is a great project for the do-it-yourself home improvement buff.
Tinted glass or window film can significantly reduce energy costs, particularly if you have many windows facing east or west. This isn't do-it-yourself; hire a pro. Costs fluctuate, so get several bids and find an installer you trust. Make sure you get a warranty for as long as you own the home.
Homebuyers in 2013 are more demanding than ever, so advantages help. And greening your home is more than just profitable. Helping the planet helps everyone and makes you feel good too.