The green trend is growing across countless industries and sectors, and real estate is no exception. Energy efficiency and resource conservation features are attractive enough that many home buyers are willing to pay thousands more for an energy-optimized home.
If you’re looking to put your house on the market soon, you’re probably weighing your options and wondering which updates will help your case. The answer is: think green. Here are a few suggestions for increasing the numbers behind that dollar sign—and benefitting the environment in the meantime.
Install New Energy-Efficient Appliances
3605 Indian Trail | Dalworthington Gardens | $995,000
According to Energy Star, a dishwasher that was manufactured before 1994 wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle and wastes $35 per year. A fridge that’s older than a decade could be costing you even more, too. If it’s time for you to replace a kitchen appliance, consider investing in an Energy Star-rated model, which uses less energy and decreases your negative impact on the environment. When you shop for a new model, look at the EnergyGuide label so that you can compare the yearly cost of operating the appliance. Be sure to properly recycle your old model so that your effort to save resources doesn’t go to waste.
The earliest dream of the smart home was to simply make everything more convenient. But as the tech industry and consumers grow wiser to how our actions affect the environment, smart home technology has dovetailed into something more meaningful. Smart home applications and appliances allow you to closely manage your home, from adjusting the lighting to keeping close track of your energy use. But if you’re not ready to partake in a smart home overhaul, starting with a thermostat is a great way to cut down on your energy bill. Some smart thermostat models, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, pick up on your routine and adjust accordingly. The temperature will rise or decrease according to occupancy, so that you’re not wasting energy while everyone is away.
Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows
3915 Purdue Avenue | University Park | $1,790,000
Caulk and weatherstrip are crucial for preventing air leaks and drafts. If your existing windows are fairly new and in good shape, consider retrofitting them with energy-efficient coatings and treatments. If your windows are old or inefficient, you may find that buying new windows entirely is a better investment than retrofitting. Make sure that you understand energy performance ratings before you purchase new windows so that you can get the best bang for your buck. Consider purchasing heavier window coverings or an outdoor awning to decrease heat transfer and keep your home comfortable.
Technology is an amazing tool for reducing your energy costs, but energy optimization can be as simple as adding insulation. Air sealing and insulation techniques allow your HVAC system to perform more effectively. If your home is older, chances are it’s somewhat less efficient than it could be with increased insulation. One way to know whether your home has enough insulation and where it should be added is to hire an energy auditor to assess it. This way, you won’t waste time and effort installing insulation materials where they’re not needed.
Common culprits of heat loss include the attic, and the walls and floors surrounding an unheated space, like a garage. Energy.gov has more information on adding insulation in order to make your home more efficient.
Replace Regular Faucets with Low-Flow
4915 Stanford Avenue | Dallas – Rector Place | $1,498,500
Standard faucets have an average flow of 2 gallons per minute (gpm). If that doesn’t mean much to you, a low-flow faucet has a comparative gpm of 0.5, which means conserving 75 percent of the water you use. Standard showerheads come in at 3 gpm, while low-flow showerheads have a 1.6 gpm. But your updates don’t have to stop there; you can also retrofit your toilets with low-flow flush valves. You can save money while conserving water, without experiencing a noticeable difference in your hygiene routine.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor and writer for Modernize.com with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.