They say it’s a buyer’s market and agents love listing those dwellings with solar panels, efficient water heaters and appliances, good insulation and nontoxic flooring and finishes.
Here are a few easy green fixes for your property to reduce your own footprint in coming winter months while hoping to land an offer you can’t refuse.
1. Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
The Energy Star Symbol on products such as the GE Profile Frontload Washer with Steam, is an important statement reflecting high environmental standards. Even if you have to put out some cash on new appliances, you are letting prospective buyers know your fridge, washer and dryer are not energy hogs. If you own an Energy Star refrigerator, Smart Homeowner recommends you clean the coils to increase efficiency.
2. Repaint with Nontoxic Paint
There is nothing cheaper and more effective than repainting your walls as a design selling point and you’ll get kudos for disclosing you applied low- or non-VOC paint to your rooms, since we now know that lead-based enamel products emit harmful fumes.
3. Consider New Windows
While new energy-efficient windows can run several thousand dollars, the heat that escapes through poorly designed single-paned old ones accounts for as much as 25 percent of your heating bills. It can be worth replacing single paned models in the long run as they do increase property value and are good selling point for noise reduction, as well. Adding screens also is a good way to reduce air conditioning use in the summer and window covers help insulate in the winter.
4. Insulate Pipes and Water Heater
According to the Home Know it All, the process of insulating is easy by just buying a good insulation ($2 to $4 per strip), duct tape and a utility knife. Cut to fit the length and diameter of your pipes and secure every foot or so with the tape. Wrapping the exposed hot water pipes will reduce waste by increasing the temperature of hot water out of your faucets by as much as 4 degrees. Older models might require adding an insulation blanket (check the manual to see if advisable). Gas water heaters should be professionally insulated by a heating contractor.
5. Change the Lights
Talk about a quick and easy fix, something you should have already done by now but might have neglected. The Department of Energy figures green bulbs (CFLs) can reduce lighting energy costs by as much as 75 percent. Lighting adds up to 11 percent of your house’s energy budget, so the wearing of the green bulbs is a major statement about the efficiency of your property.
Sure, there are many other fixes such as adding those solar panels, replacing chemical treated carpets with sustainable bamboo hardwood and installing programmable thermostats and eco ceiling fans. Just remember, all these investments pay off in the end, even after you have moved on to a new place of your own.
Images: Cursed Thing, General Electric, New York Times