Can Making Your Home Green Increase Its Value?

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Green Living

Making your home green doesn’t necessarily mean installing solar panels on your roof. It is essentially building with the future in mind by considering energy use, utility bills, and the comfort and health of occupants. This leads to a home that also helps preserve the environment by conserving resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

There are three ways to make your home greener: improving energy efficiency, adding environmentally friendly features, and making it healthy. Improving energy efficiency can be done through simple changes to heating and cooling systems, installing more efficient lighting, and updated appliances. Adding environmentally friendly features includes water-efficient fixtures, native landscaping, and ecologically responsible materials. Making your home healthy involves increasing ventilation and paying attention to the materials used for furnishings, flooring, and wall coverings.

Despite concerns about the cost and effect on property value, greening your home can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Many green techniques not only increase the sales price of a home but also act as a marketing tool to attract buyers. Additionally, homeowners can benefit from tax credits and incentives for going green.

Studies have shown that sustainable, environmentally friendly homes can increase property values and lower utility bills. For every $1 reduction in annual energy bills, homeowners can expect an increase of $20.73 in home value. Simply sealing the area around doors and windows and filling in wall penetrations can save around $100 a month.

Let’s start by discussing the benefits of EnergyStar rated windows. Switching to these windows can save you $350 per year if you have single-paned windows, and $70 per year if you already have double-paned windows installed. The cost of EnergyStar rated windows is around $65 per window, making it a wise investment for homeowners. Installing R-30 fiberglass batt insulation in your attic can also result in significant energy savings. For an 1,800-square-foot house, you can expect to save $436 a year. This is a simple DIY project that can increase the value of your home.

Improving energy efficiency inside your home can be achieved through simple and affordable methods. Sealing ductwork and investing in an EnergyStar programmable thermostat can save you more than $100 and $180 per year, respectively. Switching to compact fluorescent bulbs can save you $100 in operating costs annually. Although they have a higher upfront cost, compact fluorescents last an average of 8 years and are a better investment than incandescent bulbs. If you plan on buying new appliances, consider purchasing EnergyStar certified ones, which can reduce your annual utility bills by $50.

The average homeowner spends $2,000 a year on utilities, with half of that spent on heating and cooling bills. By implementing the above steps, you can cut your utility bills by $1,000 and increase the value of your home by $20,000.

Green homes are often marketed in terms of energy reduction, but many buyers are also willing to pay more for homes with additional green features. A 2007 study by Green Builder Media revealed that buyers are willing to pay 11 to 25 percent more for green homes. Additionally, half of home buyers interested in green homes are motivated by health and environmental factors.

By following the energy saving steps outlined above and incorporating additional green features, you can reduce your impact on the environment and potentially increase the value of your home.

The worldwide water supply is at a critically low level, yet it is often wasted. In the United States, almost 60% of water is used for irrigation and landscaping. To reduce the impact, consider using drip irrigation, rain barrels, and native plants. Inside the home, low-flow plumbing fixtures can also reduce water usage. Homeowners can also choose eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, linoleum, cork, and wheat board. These materials have minimal impact on trees and other resources with long regrowth periods. Additionally, choose locally produced materials to reduce carbon emissions. Installing reclaimed materials, such as salvaged wood floors and recycled bricks, can also reduce your impact. To make your home healthy, focus on materials with low VOC content. Many municipalities are now enacting laws that require green techniques to be used and financial incentives are available to encourage green development. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows a tax credit of 30% of the cost of small improvement projects. Homeowners can also take $1,500 tax credits each year through 2016 for up to 30% of qualifying projects. The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage program allows homeowners to borrow money at low rates to make EnergyStar upgrades. Many states offer property tax exemptions, free or expedited building permits, and other benefits to homeowners who install green features. The city of San Francisco requires every building to adhere to green building standards.

Lawmakers in Montgomery County, Maryland are pushing for legislation that would require new homes to be built with a focus on reducing environmental impact and energy consumption. This follows a trend of similar laws in the commercial sector, with 22 states, 2 federal agencies, and 75 municipalities in the US now requiring commercial buildings to meet LEED certification standards. For more information on green building, check out related articles on HowStuffWorks and sources cited in this article.


1. Will making my home more energy-efficient increase its value?

Making your home more energy-efficient can definitely increase its value. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, homes with green certifications can sell for up to 9% more than homes without them. This is because buyers are becoming more aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes, such as lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

2. What are some ways to make my home more energy-efficient?

There are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient, such as installing energy-efficient appliances, using LED light bulbs, sealing air leaks, and adding insulation. You can also consider installing solar panels, which can greatly reduce or even eliminate your home’s energy costs.

3. Are there any tax incentives for making my home more energy-efficient?

Yes, there are several tax incentives available for making your home more energy-efficient. The federal government offers a tax credit for certain energy-efficient upgrades, such as solar panels and energy-efficient windows. Some states and local governments also offer incentives, so be sure to check with your local authorities.

4. Will adding landscaping to my home increase its value?

Yes, adding landscaping to your home can increase its value. A well-landscaped home can increase its value by up to 12%, according to a study by Virginia Tech. This is because landscaping can improve curb appeal and create a more inviting and relaxing outdoor space.

5. What are some landscaping ideas that can increase my home’s value?

Some landscaping ideas that can increase your home’s value include adding trees and shrubs, creating a garden, adding outdoor lighting, and installing hardscaping elements such as a patio or walkway. Be sure to choose plants that are appropriate for your climate and require minimal maintenance.

6. Will adding a swimming pool increase my home’s value?

Adding a swimming pool can increase your home’s value, but it’s important to note that it can also be a costly investment. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, an in-ground swimming pool can increase a home’s value by around 6%, but it can also be a turn-off for some buyers who don’t want the added expense and maintenance.

7. Will adding smart home technology increase my home’s value?

Adding smart home technology can increase your home’s value, particularly among tech-savvy buyers. Smart home technology can include things like thermostats, lighting systems, and security systems that can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. According to a study by Coldwell Banker, homes with smart home technology sell faster and for higher prices than those without it.

8. Will adding a home office increase my home’s value?

Adding a home office can increase your home’s value, particularly in today’s work-from-home culture. A dedicated home office can be a valuable selling point for buyers who need a space to work from home. Just be sure to choose a space that is well-lit and has plenty of storage and workspace.

9. Will adding a new roof increase my home’s value?

Adding a new roof can increase your home’s value, particularly if your current roof is old or damaged. A new roof can improve your home’s energy efficiency, protect it from the elements, and improve its overall appearance. According to a study by Remodeling Magazine, a new roof can recoup up to 62% of its cost in increased home value.

10. Will adding a new kitchen increase my home’s value?

Adding a new kitchen can increase your home’s value, particularly if your current kitchen is outdated or in disrepair. A new kitchen can improve your home’s functionality and appeal to buyers who are looking for a modern, updated space. According to a study by Remodeling Magazine, a major kitchen remodel can recoup up to 59% of its cost in increased home value.

11. Will adding a new bathroom increase my home’s value?

Adding a new bathroom can increase your home’s value, particularly if your home only has one or two bathrooms. An additional bathroom can improve your home’s functionality and appeal to buyers who need more space. According to a study by Remodeling Magazine, a midrange bathroom addition can recoup up to 54% of its cost in increased home value.

12. Will adding a new deck increase my home’s value?

Adding a new deck can increase your home’s value, particularly if you live in a climate where outdoor living is popular. A new deck can improve your home’s functionality and create a space for outdoor entertaining and relaxation. According to a study by Remodeling Magazine, a wood deck addition can recoup up to 72% of its cost in increased home value.

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