Most homeowners would benefit from a home energy audit, especially those with older homes. An audit will uncover where your home is wasting energy and how to best remedy the situation. Remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or living room may add to your home’s resale value, but the following energy-efficient upgrades add value and save you money on your monthly utility bills - and you'll help the environment, too.
Replace Windows & Roofing
If you have old, drafty windows with loose frames or gaps that let conditioned air escape, you're losing money. Replace them with energy-efficient windows. You will improve your indoor comfort and reduce heating and air conditioning costs. In addition, window treatments can keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that treatments such as awnings and blinds reduce solar heat gain by as much as 77 percent, and shutters and storm panels reduce heat loss in winter.
The same principle applies to your roof. A new, properly installed roof will lower your energy costs and increase your home's resale value, according to Champion Home Exteriors. Make sure you use a reliable contractor who knows how to properly ventilate the attic, or you risk mold and premature peeling of interior paint and wallpaper.
Seal & Insulate
Take the time to seal your homeâ€™s walls, windows, vents and any other cracks or gaps, and consider adding insulation, too. Not only does this improve comfort and save on utilities, but it also reduces outside noise, prevents an inflow of dust, pollen, insects and debris, and provides better humidity control. Brett and Elna Wells of Shelbourne, Vermont, told Mother Earth News how they added 19 inches of insulation in their attic and added foam sealant around their foundation, and not only did they lower their energy consumption, but they received a $2,900 rebate from their electric utility, too.
One of the home improvement projects with the best return on investment is replacing your current siding with new vinyl siding, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report. It provides a whopping 78 percent return on investment. To realize savings on your energy bill, make sure the contractor uses ENERGY STAR-rated underlayment and corner wrap to protect your home from moisture.
Get an Energy-Efficient Furnace
Linda Barnwell is a certified eco-broker with the real estate franchise company Keller Williams. She told Fox News that an energy-efficient furnace will boost energy savings and a home's resale value. Airtight homes with newer furnaces are what homebuyers are looking for, and it can even drive the outcome of a real estate deal. Sellers whose homes have furnaces that are 20 or 30 years old may see sales negotiations stall, or buyers may demand you replace the furnace as a condition of the sale.
If a professional home energy audit isn't possible, try this energy-savings calculator from the DOE.