Energy Efficient Home Resale Value (What Improvements Work)

Even if you have no plans to move out right now, you might want to someday. It’s good to improve your home’s resale value in as many ways as you can. So, is upgrading your energy efficiency a good way to boost the worth of your property?

Yes, making your home greener can increase its resale value. Here are what improvements you should focus on:

  • Upgrading to Energy Star windows
  • Getting energy-efficient lighting
  • Insulating the attic
  • Buying Energy Star appliances
  • Installing solar panels
  • Adding weatherstripping and other air leakage safeguards

In this article, we’ll talk further about the above improvements and why they’re important in boosting your home’s resale value. This information will make it easier for you to decide which changes to implement first, so make sure you keep reading!

What Energy Efficiency Improvements Can Increase Your Home’s Resale Value?

Insulating Energy Star Windows

In 2019, Realtor Magazine published a survey about the average homebuyer’s preferences for green homes. According to the results, 89 percent of buyers prefer windows with a high Energy Star rating. Another 77 percent of homebuyers want windows with triple-pane insulation.

A picture of the window installer drilling screws into the frame of our new Energy Star hurricane impact windows on our net-zero solar energy home.
Energy efficient windows are one of the most important upgrades to increase the resale value of your home.

Insulated windows can retain the temperature of your home better than traditional windows, which means less reliance on your heater and air conditioner throughout the year. The more panes a window has, the more secure it is, which provides peace of mind for any homebuyer. Windows can also reduce the volume of outside noise so life in the house is quiet and tranquil.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

That same Realtor Magazine survey found that 77 percent of homebuyers are interested in properties with energy-efficient lighting. This is an easier home improvement to make because even switching from incandescent to LED bulbs can make a serious difference in how green your home is.

If you upgrade five of your light fixtures throughout the house with Energy Star-approved lighting, you could be looking at $75 in annual savings, says Energy.gov.

Photo of energy efficient outdoor lighting fixture at night from the First Attainable Home project.
Energy efficient outdoor lighting fixtures on Our First Attainable Home. They add value, save money, and they’re pretty, too!

Some homeowners go one step further and add motion sensors and smart light switches. Both features ensure that the lights are only on in the home when needed so you’re not wasting electricity. Motion sensor lights are a safety feature as well.

Attic Insulation

When deciding which parts of the home to make more energy-efficient, many homeowners focus on the rooms that people spend a lot of time in, such as the living room, the kitchen, and the family room. Yet neglecting the attic is a major mistake!

Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2016 said that insulating or re-insulating the attic is the top energy efficiency home improvement in the United States. That information might not be current, but it does show that attic insulation is important for energy efficiency.

view of an energy efficient attic space with lots of insulation for added air sealing
Don’t overlook the attic just because you’re under it! The attic of our First Attainable Home has lots of insulation.

Insulating your attic may not increase curb appeal, but it has many other benefits. The layers of insulation can prevent condensation from dripping onto the roof’s underside, gradually rotting the wood. Pipes near the attic will be less likely to freeze as well.

New insulation can keep pollutants outdoors where they belong rather than inside where you and your family breathe them in. You’ll also be able to maintain a more stable temperature throughout the home, especially if you recently upgraded insulation elsewhere. 

Energy Star Appliances

Outside of new windows, if there’s one improvement you make to your home so it’s more energy-efficient, it should be purchasing Energy Star-rated appliances. Realtor Magazine says 86 percent of homebuyers want greener appliances when they move into a home.

Every appliance you use daily can be replaced for energy efficiency. That includes refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, clothes washers and dryers, and air cleaners or purifiers. Energy Star certifies them all.

The U.S. Department of Energy has stated that upgrading to Energy Star appliances can lower your energy bill between 10 and 50 percent, which can add up to about $2,000 more in your pocket.

Solar Panels

You should also consider moving to renewable energy for your home through solar panels. You’ll enjoy lower electricity bills by using natural solar energy. Solar panels are also low-maintenance, as it can be years before they even need to be cleaned. Even then, you can hire a team, so you don’t have to climb up on your roof and do it yourself!

aerial view of net-zero house with solar panels on the roof
Solar panels were an important aspect of our first net-zero renovation.

Weatherstripping and Other Air Leakage Safeguards

Even if you upgrade to Energy Star triple-paned insulated windows, if you have old doors or weatherstripping in your home, then outdoor air is still consistently making its way into the house. You’ll miss out on the insulation and temperature maintenance that green windows are supposed to provide.

The best part about getting new weatherstripping (besides the lower energy bills, that is) is that this is one of the most inexpensive curb appeal upgrades you can make. It’s also a very impactful one. Check out our article Home Air Sealing: Fix These 6 Common Leaky Areas For Savings to learn more.

What Is An Energy Efficient Home’s Resale Value?

It’s no secret that making the above changes to your home doesn’t come cheap. True, you’ll recoup a lot of money through lower energy bills, and your home will also be worth more money. But just how much more valuable will an energy-efficient home be?

That depends on the changes you make. According to RESNET, photovoltaic solar panels can increase your home’s appraised value by a whopping $20,194.

We actually did a deep dive into many studies showing the impact of solar on your home value which you can check out here if you like.

Remodeling Magazine, using national data, says that green home improvements can increase your home’s resale value in the following amounts:

  • Vinyl window replacement – $13,050
  • Wood window replacement – $14,725
  • Fiberglass attic insulation – $1,268

EnergySage also reports great value for insulating the attic. In an article from 2018, the website mentions a return on investment rate of 116.9 percent.

Other Changes You Can Make To Your Home To Increase Its Resale Value

Perhaps you can only afford to make a few energy-efficient improvements to your home right now. Until your residence is as green as you desire, you can try some other ways to help its curb appeal. Here are our suggestions.

Keep the House in Good Shape

When the need for home repairs arises, whether the issue is big or small, don’t delay. Minor home repairs can become more significant (and often more expensive) through neglect. A cared-for home will sell quickly.

Try Tricks to Make Your Rooms Seem Bigger

Everyone wants a house boasting a lot of square footage. Even if your home is on the smaller side, you can fake its size with tricks such as adding mirrors. As the mirror reflects the wall, it makes the room seem twice as large.

Photo of a mirror in a brightly lit entry, making the space appear larger.
Mirrors instantly make a space feel bigger. Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

You can also remove constricting draperies and install vertical shutters or blinds instead. You’ll be surprised how much roomier your home feels!

Add Some Greenery

Why not make your home literally green? Shade trees are especially popular with homeowners since they keep the house cool with their overarching foliage. You can also clean up the lawn, plant new flowers, and do some landscaping.  

Conclusion

Energy-efficient homes usually sell for more money, with the value depending on which changes you make. Today’s homebuyer prioritizes Energy Star windows and appliances the  most. Upgrading your lighting is another change that, while relatively low-cost, will dazzle house hunters who come through for a home tour.

We hope this article has inspired you to make your home greener, even if you currently have no interest in selling it. The money savings you enjoy through lower utility bills will make the whole thing worth it. If you do decide to sell, the payoff will be even more dramatic.

Erin Shine

Erin Shine

Founder | Attainable Home

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