Green Renovations Amp Up A Home’s Market Appeal

Highlighting your home’s green features can help you stand out from the competition in the home selling process. Right along with a home’s traditional selling points like granite countertops or a luxury master suite, talking about the sustainable, energy-saving features of your home might really appeal to buyers who are looking to save money and are eco-conscious.

If your home is currently lacking in green features, consider making the following renovations before putting it on the market:

Energy Efficient Lighting: Simply swapping out one incandescent lightbulb for a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) can save you $40 in electricity over the cost of the lightbulb’s lifetime. The CFL uses about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer. It also produces 75% less heat, which means it’s safer to operate and cuts energy costs. Also consider installing dimmer switches, energy efficient lamps and motion sensors and timers so that you can make the most out of your lights and not use them when they are not needed.

Minimize Water Use, Maximize Distribution Efficiency: Replace old, water-wasting toilets with high-efficiency ones to trim water bills for you now and amp the appeal of this money saving green feature to potential buyers. High-efficiency faucets and showerheads also deliver cost-effective performance and making sure your hot water heater is up to snuff will deliver energy savings as well.

Efficient Cooling and Heating: If you’ve survived even just one brutal Chicago winter, you know the enormous value of a programmable thermostat, where you can set exact temperatures for specific times of day. It keeps your bills from skyrocketing by keeping the temperature inside your home warm enough so the pipes won’t freeze when you aren’t there during the day, and allows you to be comfortable when you’re home that evening and sleeping overnight. In addition to upgrading to a programmable thermostat, consider installing ceiling fans to help with the circulation of air during the warm summer months. Install high performance double or triple paned glass and place weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors to make sure heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer won’t escape.

Indoor Air Quality: Whole-house air cleaners cost a few hundred dollars but are a very worthwhile investment to make as they can filter out pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency has named indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. Walls should be painted with paint that is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemical contaminants that release vapors at room temperature and can cause headaches, eye irritation, memory loss, fatigue and depression with initial exposure. With unusually high or prolonged exposure to VOCs such as formaldehyde, people face an increased risk of cancer.

Energy Saving Appliances: Most green homes use ENERGY STAR appliances, which contain the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency that was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by an inefficient use of energy. These energy-efficient products offer savings without sacrificing performance, features or comfort. ENERGY STAR appliances can include hot water heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ovens, washers and dryers. These models will conserve energy and save you money in the long run.