5 energy-efficient home improvement projects that boost value
Last updated: September 05, 2023

5 energy-efficient home improvement projects that boost value

The benefits of starting today

Increasing your home's energy efficiency is the ultimate win-win when it comes to selecting a home improvement project. You'll save money on future energy bills, improve the environment, and enjoy a more comfortable living space. Additionally, the right project can boost your home's value in the long run. Considering that many home buyers prioritize sustainability, reducing your home's energy usage can prove to be a wise investment.

But which projects should you prioritize, and how can you navigate the process intelligently? Naturally, the prioritization of these projects will depend on factors such as your home's age, location, and the energy bills that have the greatest impact on your wallet.

It's important to know that the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act offers homeowners a variety of money-saving tax credits and rebates. Take a look at this breakdown from Kiplinger's to determine how much you can offset your costs. Some savings may be significant enough to influence your project choices.

Whether it's addressing leaky air vents, upgrading an ancient thermostat, or insulating an attic that's lacking proper insulation, it's crucial to carefully consider all your options. Here are some projects worth considering and helpful resources to guide your decision-making process.

Start saving green and going green from day one

1. Upgrade your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC):

Upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient air conditioning or heating system can pay a solid return — in some cases a much better Return on Investment (ROI) than other types of home improvement projects. ROI is a way to measure how profitable an investment is by comparing the amount of money gained from the investment to the initial cost and expressing it as a percentage. Typical U.S. homes use over 50% of their energy on air conditioning and heating. You can start saving money while enjoying optimal temperature ranges in your home with more affordable upgrades like smart thermostats and ductwork sealing.

  • Check out this overview from Angi on what to know before buying
  • Forbes has a good breakdown on what a new HVAC system will cost
  • This guidance from Bob Vila can help you choose the right system

2. Improve your roofing and/or installation:

We have already established that the majority of your home energy expenses arise from heating and cooling. Replacing your roof and upgrading your insulation are also great ways to minimize energy usage and maximize monthly savings. What’s more, a new energy-efficient roof will not only save you money in summer and winter, it can upgrade the curb appeal of your home when you decide to sell.

  • This Old House has a good overview to help you sort out the cost of a new roof and which roof is best for your area of the country.
  • Try this Forbes Home guide about choosing the best roofing insulation for your home.

3. Replace inefficient windows

Energy-efficient windows play a dual role in keeping your home comfortable: they prevent your temperature-controlled air from escaping, and they also ward off the unwanted effects of extreme weather, preventing excessive heat in summer and chilly drafts in winter. They also reduce the strain on your HVAC system and promote energy savings. Granted, there are high up-front costs associated with upgrading your home’s windows, but those costs can often be partially offset with tax incentives and rebates. More modern windows can also diminish outside noise disturbances and lower your overall carbon footprint.

  • This guide to energy efficient widows from Angi is a good place to start
  • Check out these helpful tips from Energy.gov.
  • This breakdown from This Old House dives into the cost of window replacement

4. Try solar panels:

Upgrading to solar power, which used to be quite expensive, has become much more affordable in recent years. Plus, it's a smart investment that can pay off when you decide to sell your home. According to Zillow, homes with solar-energy systems sell for 4.1% more than similar homes without solar power. Combining potential federal and state incentives and tax rebates, there are many upsides to adding solar panels.

  • Determine your home’s solar potential with a solar calculator.
  • Estimate your energy output with this PVWatts® Calculator.
  • Check out this energy.gov guide to determine whether you’ll qualify for a federal tax credit that can save you as much as 30% on your cost of a solar system.

5. Update energy-guzzling appliances:

According to Consumer Reports, the appliances in your home—your washer, dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher—represent your third-largest energy spend and roughly 9% of your monthly energy bill. Replacing your current appliance with modern dishwashers and washing machines can minimize water usage and save energy. You may have old, reliable machines, but with the changes in technology, you could be missing out on considerable energy and water savings that will add up quickly.

  • Read Bob Vila on all the reasons to replace — not repair — home appliances.
  • Here’s a primer on ENERGY STAR® appliances and why these ratings are important.
  • Check out Home & Gardens 9-step guide to choosing energy-efficient appliances.

The benefits of making your house greener simply add up

From fighting climate change to shrinking your monthly energy bill, there are many reasons to make your home more energy efficient. State incentives combined with federal tax cuts and rebates can also help to reduce the cost. Be sure to make those savings part of your decision-making process.

Many of these projects have the potential to improve the value of your home when it's time to put it on the market. And the best part? The benefits will keep flowing in year after year, with each changing season, no matter which upgrades you ultimately choose to pursue.