You can make your investment property more eco-friendly and energy-efficient when you opt for sustainable upgrades. We’ve listed six green building design ideas in the following sections, from solar panels to reclaimed building materials.
1. Solar Panels
Solar panels can be a worthwhile investment when you consider energy savings, rebates, and tax incentives. The greater the roof area, the greater your return on investment (ROI). For example, solar panels on a 10,000-square-foot roof can save up to $44,000 in energy costs per year. The federal tax credit will be 30% for solar panel installations in 2022-2032, 26% in 2033, and 22% in 2034. It is scheduled to expire in 2035. Many solar panels come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty and a 25-year warranty against generation loss.
2. Rainwater Harvesting
With the water supply dwindling in many regions, rainwater harvesting is an important green building design option. As rainwater runs off the roof, it flows through drain pipes and is filtered and collected in a tank. The water is suitable for various uses, from irrigation to washing clothes. It is best to avoid drinking, brushing your teeth or cooking with rainwater, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Besides lowering your water bill, rainwater harvesting can help prevent sewer spillage during storms.
3. Tankless Water Heater
Instead of storing and heating gallons of water in a tank, a tankless water heater heats only on demand. It can cost up to $5000 to purchase and install, but the energy savings add up to an attractive ROI. Your energy bills can drop by 20 to 50 percent after installation. Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years and take up less space than a traditional water heater.
4. Energy-Efficient Lighting
Energy-efficient lighting can be a relatively simple green building design upgrade. Simply installing LED light bulbs can reduce home energy bills by an average of $225 per year. To increase natural light, you can make other changes, such as installing skylights, glass doors, or large windows.
5. Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors
Besides increasing light, windows and doors can also help regulate interior temperatures. Energy-efficient windows keep cooled or heated air inside the home, reducing the work of heating and cooling systems. That’s a big help when you consider that poorly sealed windows and doors lose up to 30 percent of home energy.
If you’d rather not replace your windows and doors, you can seal them to improve energy efficiency. Caulking, weatherstripping, and glaze are effective options. South-facing windows can help heat the home in the winter. During the summer months, cover the windows with shades or curtains to keep the room cool.
6. Reclaimed Materials
Why not reduce waste and save money during your next renovation project? You can use recycled or reclaimed flooring, wood beams, doors, and other building materials. Ask your design-build team about reclaimed materials that can be used for your project.
At RH Blanchard, our general contracting experts can help you add green design features to your Boston-area investment property. Contact us and get a free quote.