The idea of more sustainable energy is one that we should aspire for, and it’s becoming more and more prominent in our society. We’ve managed to cover thousands of acres with solar panels and windmills that help us get more renewable energy, and even the cars we drive help us steer away from burning fossil fuels with super efficient engines, hybrids, or all electric motors. It’s no wonder that Real Estate is getting in on the trend as well.
An energy efficient home is designed to reduce the amount of energy a home needs, thus reducing the owners expenses and simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint- two things that any homeowner would want. The issue is that these homes rarely come cheap. Not only do these upgrades increase the direct value of the house, but there is also quite a demand for them.
Residential and commercial buildings make up 29% of all energy consumption in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. There is quite a bit of room for improvement right there, but let’s give ourselves a little bit of credit for the progress we have made. In 2001, we got about .5% of our energy from renewable sources. In 2020, we reached 10%. That is a 20x increase in just about 20 years. We are on track to have about 23% of our energy coming from renewable sources in 10 more years. But who knows, we might blow right by that though. After all, in 2001, when only .5% of our energy was renewable, do you know how much renewable energy we predicted to have by 2020? 1%. The Department of Energy (DOE) expected us to 2x what we were doing in 2001, but we 20x it instead!
Apart from feeling good about being better on the environment, why else should you consider going green with your home? According to the DOE, with inflation and all things included, our energy costs had the largest single-year increase in 40 years, and our energy costs are up 27% year-over-year. Homeowners with energy efficient homes can enjoy saving up to 25% on their energy bills. There are also tax incentives for some energy efficient upgrades!
Investing in ENERGY STAR appliances, solar panels, and double-pane windows are often seen as some of the best investments a homeowner can make to reduce their energy bill and their carbon footprint. These things might fetch a higher sticker price, but after a while they can keep more money in your pocket.
ENERGY STAR appliances must meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the DOE, so it isn’t just a fancy title for a sales promotion. It means they really do save you energy after every use, and when you are talking about energy from fridges and freezers, ovens, washers and dryers, those savings can add up fast.
Double-pane or double-glazed windows refers to windows that have two panes and help reduce the transfer of heats from windows. You can imagine if you have one side of a window very hot like in summer, some of that heat is going to transfer to the other side as well, but many of these double windows are packed with argon gas to prevent that. Argon is a very dense, non toxic gas that REALLY resists change in temperature. Having this in between the window panes will make it so that virtually no temperature change occurs at your window. If you’ve ever had a window salesman pitch you on their windows, you will see what I mean, and it’s very cool to witness! They’ll bring out a laser (think of the kind cats like to play with, but much stronger) and shine it through regular glass, and you can feel it hot on your skin. Then, they shine the same light through an insulated window and you can’t feel a thing. It really is pretty cool to experience.
The last method, solar panels, doesn’t have anything to do with reducing the amount of energy your house uses like the other two. This one is to provide you with your own source of clean energy. Of course, doing this means that you will need less energy from your company so the savings are the same. These systems come in many shapes and sizes, and can range from $3,500-$35,000. On average these systems provide about 2kW of energy a day and can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
If you are interested in what additions might be the best fit for your home or want to find a home that is more efficient, I would be happy to help any way that I can. Have a great day!
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