If you're looking to increase the efficiency of your home, there's some good news: Not only can you save a bundle of money with lower utility bills, studies show that you will be able to sell your house faster, and for more money as well. Green houses are attracting more attention on the market, so when it does come time to sell you could see a big increase in the price.
Efficiency matters. Ninety percent of potential homebuyers rate home efficiency features as “very important,” according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders. The survey went on to report that 61 percent of buyers would pay up to $5,000 more for a house that promised lower utility bills. Other studies found that green-certified houses sell for $34,800 more than similar homes without efficiency features in California, and green houses in Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., sell at a premium of 8.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively. The Seattle study also found that the green homes sold 22 percent faster than others.
Make sure your realtor is aware of all the efficiency upgrades you’ve made and can highlight them to interested buyers. If you provide old utility bills you can really showcase the savings.
Keep that Electric Bill Low
The electric bill is one of the biggest ongoing household expenses, so any reductions you make will go a long way. There are a lot of places to look for savings. For starters, if you have old, outdated appliances, replace them with new Energy Star-certified models so you know that they meet the strictest efficiency standards. Your lighting system is another place to upgrade -- it's time to toss old incandescent bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescents or LEDS. Finally, if you really want to save money and make your house look good to buyers, install some solar panels on the roof, which can reduce the electricity bill to near zero.
How Else Can I Increase My Efficiency?
Don't forget to take other steps to increase the energy efficiency of your home, especially when it comes to heating bills:
- Make sure your insulation is up to par, and seal or repair any drafty areas in your house.
- Replace your old windows with double- or even triple-pane models to help keep inside air in and outside air out.
- Get a smart thermostat to monitor your habits and automatically find efficiencies in your heating system.
- Put low-flow faucets on your sink and shower fixtures to keep water usage down, and install high-efficiency toilets
- Consider an instant or tankless water heater to save both water and energy costs.
You can also hire a qualified professional to conduct an energy audit and point out other ways to increase your efficiency and save money. Even if you don't plan on selling your house any time soon, you can enjoy seeing the savings in your bills each month.