It is a tough economy right now. If you are trying to sell your home, chances are you find yourself competing with sellers of newer homes, which were designed to consume much less energy, an attractive selling point for potential buyers in a time of steadily rising oil and gas prices. A few simple changes can improve the energy performance of your home by reducing water usage, improving indoor air quality and ultimately lowering monthly utility bills.
These tips will help you stay competitive in a market that is well on its way to stock greener and better homes:
Replace all your light bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescents) bulbs. This is easy and inexpensive to do and you can do it yourself. You will be surprised what a difference this will make to your utility bill – CFLs use a three quarters less energy than regular bulbs; install light motion detectors.
Replace old appliances with Energy Star-certified models. Appliances marked with the EPA label use up to 50% less energy than conventional appliances. In some cases such appliances even qualify for tax benefits.
Seal all leaks and tightly caulk cracks around window frames. Unwanted air infiltration through leaks and cracks is responsible for high monthly heating bills. Insulating your water heater will also help and installing programmable thermostats so your energy usage is lower when you are not at home.
Make sure wall paint does not contain any lead. If it does, have it removed immediately. In any case, put a fresh coat of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint on, as low VOC paints have become an excellent marketing tool and selling point.
Carpets, PVC tiles and other plastic materials may emit off-gas fumes. If your old carpet sits above an old hardwood floor, consider removing the carpet and restoring the hardwood floor for a natural look without the allergens and toxins of carpets. Alternatively, consider replacing your old carpet with new, eco-friendly carpeting, FSC wood, or bamboo flooring.
To fully understand what the actual energy consumption of your home is, you can always contact an Energy Alliance in your community if available. They will come to your home, evaluate its energy consumption, and make suggestions for improved performance. If you are considering a more substantial renovation, it is advisable to work with a LEED accredited professional who will go over the main checklist for major improvements with you. If you are aiming for a LEED rating, your home will definitely distinguish itself with this nationally recognized green accreditation, helping you increase the value of your home and sell faster.
Guest Article By: Misty Weaver is a partner with 5 Elements Design, a residential design firm that provides stock small house plans and custom home design that is sustainable and family friendly.