Renovating your home, whether or not you are planning to sell, is a great way to increase its market value. Aside from that, it can also save you money in the long run, because certain remodeling projects can lower your water and energy bills and reduce the incidence of mold and other allergens.
Green remodeling is especially attractive to homeowners, as it takes everything into account, from durability to energy and resource efficiency to healthy indoor air.
Before undertaking any renovations in your home, however, it’s important to have a good understanding of the types of renovation projects that will add real value to your home and which ones are just luxuries that won’t get you a good rate of return on your investment.
Things like whirlpool baths, in-ground swimming pools and gourmet kitchens, while nice to have, are not essentials and, unfortunately, won’t increase your home’s resale value.
Following are a number of green remodeling projects that are worth considering as they will both increase your home’s resale value and improve your quality of life.
Go for energy-efficient windows
Most older homes still have single-pane windows, which are extremely inefficient. This goes both for homes in warm and cold climates, as a home can lose up to 30 percent of its heat or air-conditioning through its windows.
Updating old and inefficient windows will allow you to recoup up to 90 percent of your initial investment within the first few years. Adding Energy Star-rated windows is thought to save you up to $500 each year in heating or cooling costs and you’ll even receive green energy tax credits for doing so.
Invest in dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads
The average household’s water consumption can be reduced by as much as 50 percent simply by installing energy efficient shower-heads and toilets. Duel-flush toilets can reduce the load on sewer systems and save water.
Low-flow shower heads and taps can also save you a lot of water, and contrary to what many people think, you won’t even have to compromise on water pressure as long as you invest in good-quality products.
Another bathroom addition that you may want to consider is a humidistat. This will automatically turn on the bathroom fan if the moisture levels are too high, thus preventing mold growth.
Install energy efficient insulation
Aside from windows, there are other areas that can let a lot of heat escape or enter, depending on the climate and time of year. Updating your home’s insulation to make it more energy efficient is relatively affordable and you’ll see a return on your investment in no time at all.
Things like un-insulated doors, drafty attics and cold spots can waste hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. If you aren’t sure where the leaks are, you can rent or purchase a thermal leak detector that will show you where you are losing heat.
In general, areas that need extra attention include doors and windows, electrical sockets and light switches, attics, basements and places where wires or ducts leave the home.
A programmable thermostat can also save you money each year, and since most buyers expect to see this in a home they are looking to buy, it is certainly worth the investment.
Reinvent existing space
Before you consider adding extra rooms to your home, consider the space you already have. Are there rooms that could be reworked to make them more spacious or converted into something else? For example, basements and attics are generally under-used areas, and for a relatively low cost (compared to building a new room) they can be turned into bedrooms, lounges or extra bathrooms.
Other areas to consider for reinventing include cupboards and under-staircase storage areas. Removing a wall here, adding one somewhere else or putting in extra windows is a simple way to reuse the space you already have.
Invest in solar energy
While solar panels and solar heating systems are initially a rather large investment, you can make back most of your money within the first seven years. Solar panels will reduce your electricity bills and generate pollution-free energy, and most states have solar energy incentives in place to make it an even more attractive investment for your home.
About the Author: Joyce Del Rosario works as a Community Outreach Specialist at Open College of Art and Design. She is also an interior design blogger.