There are probably a lot of energy-efficient upgrades homeowners would do for their homes if they had the money. Sadly, most of us have to concentrate on certain home improvement projects that yield the highest return on investment (ROI.) For businesspeople, the ROI usually boils down to how much profit a particular investment will generate, but a homeowner isn't always driven by that type of net gain. Whether a homeowner cares more about the environmental impact of their home or their power bills, they can use these tips to decide which projects are right for them.
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Starting with an energy evaluation will tell a homeowner which areas of their home are the most efficient and which areas are falling short. The costs of an evaluation will vary by the service you choose and the company who performs it. Some homeowners may choose to perform a simple duct test to see how well their ventilation is performing when the temperature rises and falls. Others may opt for a full audit to get the full scope of their potential troubles.
An unbiased auditor can tell a homeowner more about where they can put their money to save the most energy. Homeowners should also check into local programs to see what incentives are available to them. Officials may give tax credits or better financing options to constituents who want to make their home green.
No one wants to waste their money heating and cooling the great outdoors, which is why insulation typically yields an average resale value of 117%. Even if homeowners aren't planning on selling anytime soon, they'll still save about $200 a year on their utility bills! Buying high-quality caulk or weather stripping materials may also be an option if a homeowner isn't ready to invest in better insulation. The benefits of insulation not only keep treated air indoors, but it also reduces the likelihood of water or moisture damage.
The technology of appliances today moves almost as quickly as computer technology does. Manufacturers have an unparalleled incentive to save homeowners money like never before. Buying programmable thermostats, energy-efficient washing machines, or a new water heater can save a homeowner and the environment in more ways than one. The right combination of lighting can slash up electricity bills by more than half. One thing to remember is that major appliance upgrades may not raise the resale value as much as a homeowner may like, so this tip is best for owners who plan to stay in their home for the next 5–10 years.
Just like upgrading all of the appliances is best for long-term ROI, so too are the larger transformation to the home's structure. Homeowners looking to transition their home to full solar power or to a zero-waste structure should remember it may take decades to recoup the full cost of the changes. If you're looking to make these types of major renovations, you may want to check into community efforts that encourage neighbors to pool their resources together for the highest net return. Efforts like community solar may raise everyone's property values over time and encourage more interest in a given area.
Starting from the top with basic upgrades to your Westmount home and then working your ways down is typically a good approach. As the years roll by, homeowners can build on their smaller investments to eventually eliminate as much waste as possible.