By Henry Walsh
Looking to make the most green when you list your home? Going “green” may help, especially in an environmentally conscious city like Denver. In a National Association of Realtors sustainability report, most Realtors said promoting energy efficiency in listings is a plus. Here are some upgrades that can help you cash in on eco-friendly features for your home.
Low-flow plumbing fixtures can reduce the amount of water you use, and homebuyers will love the idea of lower water bills. Replace any toilets, faucets, and shower heads made before 1994. Newer fixtures are required by federal law to use less water. You can find low-flow shower heads at a home improvement store starting for about $20. If you don’t have the budget to replace your faucets, install low-flow aerators instead. They slow down the faucet’s flow and use less water. You can find a WaterSense (EPA approved) model for around $10.
Energy Efficient Appliances
If you’re replacing appliances before putting your home on the market, keep in mind buyers prefer models with an Energy Star rating. These ratings come from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Appliances with this symbol have undergone rigorous testing. They use 20-30 percent less energy than required by federal standards.
Smart Home Technology
Smart security, lighting, climate control, and appliances are very attractive to homebuyers, especially millennials. Programmable thermostats are particularly popular because they can save energy and money. Their convenience is a huge plus because homeowners can set them and forget them, or control them with a smartphone. The same is true for smart security and smart lighting systems.
Energy Efficient Windows
Improving or replacing old windows is a good way to make a home more energy efficient. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates 25-30 percent of a home’s heat loss comes from leaky windows and doors. Check for air leaks, replace caulking and weather stripping, or adding window coverings. If your windows are in good shape, you may be able to improve their efficiency at a low cost.
Replacing older, less efficient windows will save on energy costs while improving the appearance of your home. You may qualify for incentives and rebates if you install energy efficient windows. Look for Energy Star certified windows. In colder climates such as Denver, this usually means gas-filled windows with a low U factor and low-e (low emissivity glass) coatings. These features prevent heat from escaping through your windows.
Environmentally conscious home buyers will appreciate a low-maintenance yard. You can accomplish this by choosing native, drought-tolerant plants and eco-friendly lawn care including mulch and proper irrigation. A xeriscaped lawn can stand up to Colorado’s winters and dry summers. You can also choose a grass variety like Kentucky bluegrass or ryegrass that requires little water.
New Garage Doors
A new garage door can instantly update the exterior of your home. An insulated door goes a step further by increasing the energy efficiency of your home. Keeping your garage warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer will do the same for living spaces next to or above the garage.
Solar panels are obviously eco-friendly. They’re also a popular upgrade that can boost the value of your property.
Increasing your home’s eco-friendly factor is a smart move whether you’re selling your home now or looking at resale value down the road. You’ll save money and improve your chances of selling if you upgrade your home with the environment in mind.
Henry Walsh is a gardening writer and eco-conscious living advocate. He recently began his homesteading journey after many years of incorporating the principles into his urban lifestyle.