Eco-Friendly Retrofitting Upgrades That Pay Off

They say a man’s home is his castle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want your utility bills to look like you’re paying for castle-sized upkeep. And if you’ve found that your energy and water consumption are off the charts for the size of your home, it may be time to consider how a few eco-friendly upgrades or an overall retrofit of your structure could help to lower your monthly bills. Of course, you may also harbor some amount of concern about the state of the environment, in which case making your home more sustainable could already be on your radar. Either way, you can’t ignore the cost of such projects, especially if you’re on a budget. But you can select upgrades that are sure to pay off, not only in savings on utility bills, but also in the event of resale, by adding value to your home. Here are just a few retrofitting upgrades that can help you to cut your carbon footprint, see some savings over time, and pay off big when you sell your home.

While you can certainly make all kinds of eco-friendly changes around the house and probably get some savings in the bargain, not all will pay off in a major way. For example, low-flow toilets and aerated faucets can lower your water consumption, but they won’t really show a return when you sell your property. The same goes for installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances. On the other hand, these types of upgrades entail relatively little expense and they virtually pay for themselves over time with the savings you’ll see on your monthly utility bills. So you’ll at least come out even, if not realize a small gain as time goes by.

But if you’re looking to make some really big changes and enjoy a much greater payoff as a result, there are definitely some larger retrofitting projects you could take on. For example, you might consider overhauling your outdoor space with the addition of drought-resistant landscaping and a gray water system to hydrate it. Or if you get a lot of rainfall in your area you could use a cistern to collect water for use on the lawn during low-moisture months. This could significantly reduce water consumption, and although it may not technically add value to the home, the curb appeal will help to attract buyers, as will the fact that new owners will have lower utility bills than everyone else on the block. It may not equate to dollar signs, but it’s definitely valuable.

Of course, the greatest value will almost certainly come from turning to alternative energy resources by adding solar panels, a residential wind turbine, a geo-exchange, or the like. These are pricy additions to your home, but they can take your structure to net-zero energy consumption (as in, no electric bill). And there are still some eco-friendly tax credits available that could help with the up-front costs. If a totally sustainable home sounds good to you, just think of how it will appear to prospective buyers. As a rule, this type of retrofit can attract a certain demographic of buyers that are willing to pay a bit more for green amenities. So although such upgrades will no doubt add to the averageĀ home maintenance checklist, they’re bound to bring you the best return on investment when you sell.

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