Will greening my home increase my property value?

Improving Energy Efficiency on the Inside

A programmable thermostat can really help save you money.
A programmable thermostat can really help save you money.

When it comes to heating and cooling, many homeowners believe that going green means complicated new technologies and expensive investments. While there are options, such as geothermal heat pumps and highly efficient new units, the things that can make the biggest impact are actually the most affordable. Start by sealing your ductwork. All it takes is a can of duct mastic and a roll of aluminum tape to keep air from leaking out. You can save yourself more than $100 a year [source: Gorman].

Invest in an EnergyStar programmable thermostat (around $42, if self-installed), and you can expect to save $180 a year in reduced energy bills [sources: Gorman, EnergyStar].

When it comes to lighting, saving money is as easy as changing a light bulb. By switching out just five of the incandescent bulbs in your home for compact fluorescents, you can save $100 a year in operating costs [source: USGBC]. While some people are turned off by the higher upfront costs of these bulbs, many are surprised to learn that they last an average of 8 years, making them a much better investment over time than incandescent bulbs [source: EnergyStar].

Finally, if you plan to invest in new appliances, consider those stamped "EnergyStar Certified." On average, you will reduce your annual utility bills by $50 for every EnergyStar appliance you install in your home [source: USGBC].

The average homeowner spends $2,000 a year on utilities, half of which is spent on heating and cooling bills [source: EnergyStar]. By implementing some of the steps above, you can easily cut your utility bills by $1,000, increasing the value of your home by $20,000 at the same time.