Improving Energy Efficiency on the Outside
Proponents of green building have long believed that by creating sustainable, environmentally friendly homes, homeowners could also expect increased property values and lower utility bills. A 2007 study by the National Association of Appraisers has shown that this is indeed the case. For every $1 in annual energy bill reduction, a homeowner can expect an increase of $20.73 in home value [source: Eco-Smart]. What's even more surprising is how easy and affordable it can be to achieve these lower utility bills.
The best place to start is simply to tighten up the home's exterior so that expensive heated or cooled air is not escaping to the outside. Start with a simple tube of caulk. By sealing the area around your doors and windows, and filling in wall penetrations (like those around the dryer vent or the cracks where cables and wires enter your home) you can save around $100 a month [source: USGBC].
Next, let's look at windows. By switching to EnergyStar rated windows, you can save $350 a year over single-paned windows and $70 per year if you already had double-paned models installed [source: Myers]. These windows cost around $65 a piece, making them a wise investment with a fairly quick payback for many homeowners [source: Gorman].
Now, let's take a look at insulation. In an 1,800-square-foot (167.2-square-meter) house, you can expect to save $436 in energy costs a year by installing a R-30 fiberglass batt insulation in the attic. This is a fairly simple do-it-yourself (DIY) project that can translate to big savings and a significant increase in the value of your home [source: Jacksonville Electric Association].