If you are thinking about making green improvements thinking you will see big savings – think again. Given that energy costs keep on rising and the high initial investment in most improvements (solar, for example) the most you can hope for is perform some inexpensive energy retrofits to offset those rising costs. According to the U.S. Energy Administration energy costs are expected to increase 2.3% per year through 2035. Thus, in order to offset the increase you will need to perform a green home improvement with a modest initial investment that can save at least 5% in energy costs (some also have tax credits as well).
Here are four simple green home improvements you can perform:
- Seal and insulate all A/C ductwork that runs through unheated spaces. As a side note, if you find yourself having to replace an A/C unit, get the most SEER rating you can afford, especially if you plan on staying in the home several years. The energy savings from an efficient A/C unit can really add up over time.
- Install a programmable thermostat. The savings can really add up when the A/C can adjust the temperature settings during the day when no one is home or at night when people are sleeping.
- Add additional attic insulation, the higher the R value the better. If you can also afford to add a radiant barrier then this will keep your attic cool during the summer and warm during the winter (and inhibit cell phone signals) which will keep your home cooler and warmer, respectively.
- Caulk and/or weatherstrip all doors and windows. Small leaks can add up to big energy costs.