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Rising energy costs and record setting temperatures have had most homeowners scrambling to make energy efficient upgrades to their homes – purchasing energy-star appliances, installing insulating window treatments and choosing a smart thermostat to optimize energy usage. Yet a recent study claims many energy-saving initiatives either don’t pay off or deliver less than the predicted savings, knocking the wind right out the turbine.
Homeowners are probably left wondering if they should bother making any further energy-efficient upgrades to their home. And the answer? Yes you should. You just need to be smart about what and when you upgrade. Here are four instances when energy-efficient upgrades really do pay off.
Upgrade at end-of-life
The cost of many energy-efficient products has become much more affordable – and in many cases, they don’t differ much in price compared to conventional alternatives. So when you’re replacing something at its end-of-life, such as a broken appliance, why not choose a more energy-efficient model. The cost difference between conventional models and their energy efficient alternatives, will be minimal, making it likely that you will recoup the difference in energy savings over the life of the product.
Just remember, energy efficient, doesn’t necessarily mean longer lasting, therefore replacing items before they reach their end-of-life means you will be spending more over time, regardless of the energy savings.
Start fresh with energy-efficiency
If you’re planning a remodel or adding an addition to your home, make energy-efficiency a consideration when you’re selecting building materials, appliances and other design elements. That way your home is optimized right from the start, allowing you to immediately start recouping the upfront costs in energy savings.
Choose a related product
Some energy-efficiency upgrades, like replacing all your windows, are a significant expense. One that the study mentions, doesn’t typically pay off unless your windows are at their end-of-life. If you’re worried about energy loss at the window, but your windows are still in good shape, consider installing a related product, such as insulated window treatments. This upgrade will provide superior energy savings without the significant upfront cost.
Added benefits make it worth it
To get the most value out of energy efficient upgrades, energy savings shouldn’t be the only benefit. For example, installing energy efficient window shades will not only reduce your energy consumption, the UV protection will also help protect floors and furniture from fading. A nice added bonus that will extend the life of your home furnishings. Another example is a high efficiency washer. In addition to reduced energy costs, the appliance also requires less water and detergent to clean – great cost savings.
What energy efficient upgrades have you made to your home? Have the paid off?