As an investment property owner, you may want to save money, “go green,” or both. The good news is homes with higher energy-efficient ratings sell for 3% to 5% more than lower-rated homes. Here are five ideas for energy-efficient home improvements, from window upgrades to Energy Star products.
1. Add Insulation
All spaces in your home should be properly insulated, including your attic, crawlspace, and basement. Insulation is a cost-effective line of defense for reducing heating and cooling bills. For example, you can install 12 inches of insulation in a 500-square-foot attic for about $200. That’s a small investment in return for lower energy bills. The home interior will also be more comfortable with more consistent temperatures.
2. Repair Your Roof
A roof takes a beating from seasonal temperature changes and harsh weather conditions. Traditional asphalt shingles absorb heat and force a home cooling system to work harder. Other materials, such as clay or sheet metal shingles or cool roof coating, reflect heat to keep your home cooler and reduce energy costs by up to 25%.
If the roof is over 20 years old and there are cracked, curled, or missing shingles, it’s time for a new one. Consider replacing asphalt shingles with energy-efficient clay or sheet metal. Even if your roof is in good condition, you can add a cool roof coating to save up to 30% in cooling costs.
3. Replace Windows
Does your home interior feel drafty on a cold, windy day? Maybe it’s time to replace or seal your windows. According to the US Department of Energy, heat gain and loss account for 25% to 35% of home heating and cooling use. Windows older than 20 years can be replaced with newer, energy-efficient models. Look for double-pane windows with energy-efficient, low u-factors of 0.22 to 0.23.
If you already have energy-efficient windows, consider installing storm windows. Depending on the brand, storm windows cost between $50 to $100. The indoor temperature will be more consistent and you’ll save money on heating and cooling costs in the long run. Installing Energy Star-certified windows can save up to $100 to $500 per year.
4. Seal Leaky Heating and Cooling Ducts
When you have leaky ducts, up to 40 percent of the warm or cool air is lost before it reaches the home interior. An HVAC technician can use an injection process to seal leaky ducts at an average cost of $750. The result is a more comfortable and consistent interior temperature. The injection process can pay for itself within one or two years.
5. Install New Water and HVAC Systems
Upgrading your water heater or heating and cooling (HVAC) systems can greatly affect energy efficiency. For example, you can replace a 60% efficiency standard water heater with a 200% to 350% efficiency electric heat pump water heater. Is your HVAC system more than 10 years old or not heating or cooling consistently? Consider upgrading to an Energy Star-certified unit that can save up to $100 or more annually.
In the Boston area, RH Blanchard provides expert general contracting services for energy-efficient home improvements. Contact us today for a free quote!