Monday, August 19, 2013

Adding Green Renovations To Your Home, Part II

The Path to Reducing Energy Costs
For homeowners who wish to tackle smaller projects or aren't up to the daunting task of adhering to the 80 page LEEDs certification manual, many of the green updates available are surprisingly simple and affordable. The first thing you can do is conduct an energy audit of your home. The audit will help you identify areas in your home that you can improve yourself. The U.S. Department of Energy advises hiring a professional to conduct a more comprehensive evaluation of your home's energy efficiency. However, they provide tips for a more comprehensive DIY audit here.

1.     Locate air leaks-this can reduce drafts and save anywhere from 5-30% on energy per year
2.     Check insulation-especially in older homes (which are often notorious for having inadequate levels)
3.     Inspect heating and cooling equipment-especially if the unit is over 15 years old 
4.     Check out lighting-consider switching to more efficient bulbs
5.     Evaluate appliances--energy usage varies, but you can plan accordingly to reduce energy consumption
Aside from energy audits, there are home improvements that even Uncle Sam dotes on. Adding upgrades like energy efficient doors and windows, high efficiency water heaters and appliance, or even a programmable thermostat may render you eligible for some tax credits. 

This house may look pretty basic, but it fell under contract quickly when our buyers discovered tons of green features like repurposed building materials and a 96% efficiency gas furnace! 

Every Home is Unique
The size and scope of your renovation project will affect your home's value differently. Unfortunately, marketing your sustainable abode as having a minimal carbon foot print will not hide the fact that your house is next to the busiest freeway in the city, or that you have the worst neighbor in the world. On the flip side, telling your real estate agent that your home is energy efficient, sustainable, or LEEDs certified can undoubtedly help you in playing up its positive attributes.