Why Energy Efficiency Matters in Real Estate

Jun 15, 2022 | Energy Conservation

Adding energy-efficient upgrades to your home is an investment that pays serious dividends. Fortifying insulation, installing LED lighting, and augmenting your HVAC system with ceiling fans can optimize your electricity usage and, in turn, lower your monthly electric bill. But did you know that those clean, green home projects can also increase your home’s value? And, in some real estate markets, make it substantially more attractive to buyers?

It’s true — home buyers want eco-friendly homes. The real estate market is fierce, fast-moving, and competitive. Sellers typically look for fast, easy closes at or above their asking price. And sellers want homes that match their lifestyles and values — especially sustainability. 

So whether you want to make sure your home is a literal bastion of environmental responsibility in action, improve its value, or make it a standout property in your real estate market, keep reading. We’re going to look at why energy-efficient upgrades are worth the effort and which ones provide the highest returns.

Home Buyers Want Sustainability

Businesswire reported last year that more than 85% of people worldwide say they’ve shifted their buying habits to be more sustainable, and they’re willing to pay more for eco-friendly options. In the long run, the monetary savings potential is huge. The average family spends over $2,200 per year on energy bills — but energy-efficient upgrades could reduce that by up to 30%.

The National Association of Home Builders published a report titled “What Home Buyers Really Want” detailing the must-have energy-efficient features for today’s homebuyer. Homeowners who want to improve the appeal of their home and its energy efficiency should take note:

  • 83% of buyers want Energy Star-rated windows
  • 81% of buyers want Energy Star-rated appliances
  • 80% of buyers want efficient lighting
  • 79% of buyers want an Energy Star rating for the entire home

Green Improvements = Faster Sales at Higher Prices

A recent Forbes article noted that homes with eco-friendly features sell ten days faster than homes without. Additionally, Freddie Mac research found that homes with high energy-efficiency ratings sold for nearly 3% more compared to homes without. So, if you’re preparing to sell your home and making a list of necessary repairs, consider prioritizing eco-friendly improvements and upgrades.

“Green” Improvements to Upgrade Your Home

Some energy-efficiency improvements like regularly replacing furnace filters or sealing air leaks around your home are cheap and easy to do yourself. Others, like investing in a solar panel system or replacing old windows with new, highly rated windows, can be expensive projects that require professional installation. The following are several ideas to help you get started.

Energy-efficient appliances

Appliances like the refrigerator, water heater, and others comprise a substantial portion of the average person’s electricity bill. Replacing older appliances with new energy-efficient models has an upfront cost but can immediately put you on track to using 10% to 50% less electricity. For example, an Energy Star certified washing machine can reduce energy costs by a third and cut your water costs in half.

LED Light Fixtures

Accounting for 15% of the average home’s electricity use, lighting is an area that presents a substantial opportunity to improve a home’s efficiency. And all you need to know is that incandescent is out, and LED is in. So if you haven’t upgraded your light bulbs and fixtures to new, energy-efficient LED installations, that’s a project to put on your priority list. It’s not the most exciting upgrade, but you might be surprised that switching from incandescent to LED can save over $200 per year.

Upgrade the HVAC

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems — HVAC — become increasingly less efficient when over ten years old. So when it’s time to replace those, upgrade to furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners with better Annual Higher Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) than older models. If it’s not time for a new HVAC system, adding a programmable thermostat to the one you have is a fast and relatively inexpensive strategy to optimize the existing HVAC system.

Install New Windows

Did you know that the Department of Energy warns that over 25% of your conditioned air can escape through drafty windows? If that describes your home, consider replacing them with new energy-efficient windows. It will save money, and you’ll also find that when all the hot or cold air isn’t going out the window that it’s much easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. And new windows also add value. The National Association of Realtors published a cost versus value report and found that homeowners who replaced windows with energy-efficient models gained back 72% of the project cost upon resale.

Achieve Certification

If you’re really intent on making the largest gains possible, look into achieving eco-friendly certifications for your home.

  • Energy Star: You’ve probably heard of Energy Star appliances, but did you know your home can also achieve Energy Star certification? Check into it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize energy waste.
  • LEED: LEED-certified homes must meet high air quality standards, have high levels of natural light, and be built with health-conscious construction methods.
  • Passive House Certification: This certification indicates a home is highly energy-efficient and requires ultra-low energy use standards for both heating and cooling.

FORTIFIED Home: This whole-home certification identifies homes built with eco-friendly practices that prevent damage from natural disasters.

Budget-Friendly Upgrades

While some eco-friendly improvements are quite costly, there are less-expensive but still effective budget-friendly options.

  • Install smart power outlets to reduce or eliminate phantom loads.
  • Use caulk or expanding foam to seal air leaks around doors, windows, the attic, and the exterior perimeter of the house.
  • Add low-flow faucets to encourage less water waste.

Power Your Green Home With Green Energy

Making energy-efficient upgrades to your home will save you money on your monthly electric bill, and they can also increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to prospective buyers. But did you know you can minimize your carbon footprint and ecological impact even further by powering your home with clean, green renewable energy from Energy Texas?

Our plans are powered by wind, solar, and carbon-neutral gas. So not only can you improve your home’s energy efficiency, you can ensure the electricity you do use isn’t produced in a way that’s detrimental to the environment. Even better, our fixed-rate pricing ensures consistency you can count on, and our customer service is second-to-none. Check out the plans available in your area!

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