7 Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades and How They Affect Property Value

by Andrea Burton
Quality light. Construction workers installing new window in house

Sure, you’re concerned about your carbon footprint and want a sustainable future for your kids, but you still have bills to pay and a budget to keep.

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Before investing in eco-friendly home upgrades, it makes sense to see how much green going green can save you.

What Are Sustainable Home Upgrades?

Home improvements that include energy-efficient appliances, alternate energy sources and construction solutions to reduce waste are called sustainable or eco-friendly home upgrades. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient homes sell faster and for more money. As a homeowner, it helps to know which green home improvements provide the largest payout.

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Return on Investment of Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades

ROI refers to your return on investment of the initial amount you spent on the upgrade. Not all home improvements result in a positive return on investment. An upgrade may be desirable to you but not necessarily to others. Or an upgrade may not bring a higher price but may help your home sell faster.

Review these eco-friendly home upgrades to learn which sustainable amenities are most attractive to buyers.

Man installing alternative energy photovoltaic solar panels on roof

Solar Panels

Because solar panels require a significant initial outlay that may take years to recoup, it's essential to consider how long you plan to stay in your home or if installing solar panels will increase your home’s resale value.

According to Zillow, a leading real estate website, homes with solar panels scored a slight increase in selling value, around 4%, with regional differences causing some fluctuation. While this modest increase may not equal your initial investment, as home buyers become more eager to find environmentally friendly homes, solar panels may pay off in the long term.

EV Charging Station

If you have an electric car, installing an at-home charging station is sensible. But what does this perk do for your home value regarding resale? Researchers at Zillow found that while EV charging stations didn’t significantly affect home value, they did reduce days on the market.

Homes with EV stations sold, on average, nine days faster. Location plays a critical role, as certain regions are more electric car-friendly than others. However, as the use of electric vehicles increases, this green home improvement may help reduce your home’s time on the market.

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Energy Star-Rated Appliances

The Energy Star program helps homeowners find energy-efficient products that help lower utility bills and protect the environment. And while these appliances keep energy bills in line, they also appeal to prospective buyers. If you’re selling your home and leaving the old appliances, make sure you note any that are Energy Star-certified. Data from the National Association of Realtors found that 63% of members surveyed felt that promoting energy efficiency was valuable to a home sale.

Quality light. Construction workers installing new window in house

Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors

Keeping your inside spaces comfortable without losing conditioned air can help save on heating and cooling costs, whether by installing storm windows, buying new windows or adding window coverings. Fortunately, when it’s time to sell your home, these investments can pay off by offering prospective buyers lower energy bill estimates, a better indoor environment and improved curb appeal. Realty Times estimates that, while you may not get 100% of your investment back, new windows could reduce sale time and net you approximately 70% back.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters offer utility savings and take up less space. Although the initial investment may be higher than for a storage water heater, tankless models typically have longer life spans, another plus for prospective home buyers. Installing two or more tankless water heaters, based on your home’s water usage, can result in even more energy savings, which you can report in your home listing.

Heat Pump

If you’re considering installing a heat pump to increase your home energy efficiency and possible market value, you may be on the right track. Research from the University of Rhode Island found that energy-efficient HVAC solutions brought about a $10,400 to $17,000 increase in resale value (14,237 CAD to 23,291 CAD).

Smart Home Features

Outfitting your home with smart technology, including thermostats, light bulbs and security systems, may make your life easier and help you save on energy bills, but will it earn you extra money when you go to sell? According to a contractor interview by Forbes, smart devices may recoup about 50% of your original investment. However, like many eco-friendly home upgrades, they may also help you sell faster.

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