From installing solar panels to fine-tuning your HVAC system, here’s how you can go green and save some cash.
Going green isn’t just better for the environment — it’s better for your wallet, too. More than ever, homeowners want their homes to be energy-efficient. Luckily, there are many ways to accomplish this. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are six of the top projects you can tackle to make your home more environmentally friendly.
1. Repair or Replace Your Roof
While energy-efficient appliances and daily energy-conserving practices are effective when it comes to saving money, there’s another way to get at the problem. Choosing efficient building materials for your new construction or retrofit can reduce the load on your heating and cooling system.
Unless your home is located in a shaded area, your roof is exposed to direct sunlight for hours each day, which raises the indoor temperature on summer days. This results in your HVAC system working harder just to keep up. If you have high summer cooling bills and a traditional asphalt roofing, you have options for energy-efficient roof updates that can reduce the load on your HVAC system.
While energy-efficient roofing materials are more expensive than asphalt, they add value to your home and cut down your energy bills, bringing in an impressive ROI.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are highly effective in conserving energy because they keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re there, but conserve energy when you’re not.
According to Energy.gov, you can save as much as 10 percent each year on heating and cooling costs by simply adjusting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher or lower than its normal setting for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat can automatically do this for you, saving you money and energy without you even having to think about it.
The average cost to have a thermostat professionally installed is $171.
3. Install Energy-Efficient Windows
If your windows aren’t energy-efficient or properly fitted, you might as well throw money out of them. When air escapes, your HVAC system has to work harder to maintain a comfortable room temperature. Properly fitted, energy-efficient windows do a better job of keeping cool air inside in the summer and warm air from leaking out in the winter.
Replacing a window costs an average of $300 to $700. The type of window, whether it’s going into an existing frame or is a new construction, and the quality of the materials all account for variations in cost.
4. Upgrade to Energy Saving Appliances
Older household appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves typically use more energy than newer, greener models. Replacing these units with Energy Star-rated systems can significantly reduce your costs.
Most homeowners spend an average of $189 to have a kitchen appliance professionally installed. Where you purchase the appliance and the installation method will affect the price.
5. Repair Any Leaks
A dripping faucet might not seem like a huge deal, but those little leaks add up. Repairing leaky faucets and pipes is one of the most effective ways to conserve water and save money around the house. The average homeowner spent between $172 and $451 to hire a plumber for repairs. The extent of the leak and time needed to repair it account for most of the variation in cost.
6. Switch to Solar Panels
Once you’ve installed solar panels on your home, you’ll see an immediate decrease in your electric bills. The higher the energy costs are in your area, the more savings you’ll see.
Installing a solar panel system costs an average of $23,332. Most homeowners pay between $16,290 and $30,513 to install solar panels. The final price can be affected by the type of system, the size of the house and the homeowner’s energy needs, and any rebates, incentives, and credits they may be eligible for. Switching to solar panels is an investment, but as more and more homeowners are seeing, it’s one that pays off over time. According to Mental Floss, the average solar customer savings over a 20-year period is $20,000.
If you’re not sure where to start, get a home energy audit. This personalized assessment can tell you how much gas and electricity your house consumes and identify ways you can make it more efficient. No matter which project you choose, expect to save 5-30% on your utility bills!