Are Energy Efficiency Improvements Cost Effective?

Utilities generally cost around $2200 annually, but energy efficiency improvements can reduce this number by approximately 25%. This comes with a high up-front cost, but it definitely pays for itself over time. What’s more, even simply assessing the energy efficiency of your home can improve the sales value — homes with an energy efficiency rating sell for 2.7% more on average, even if the rating isn’t great. All this requires is ordering an energy audit, regardless of the results. If you are improving your home, consider solar panels, which can increase the sales price by about 2-4% depending on the area.

If you’re worried about the up-front cost, there are a few financing options. The FHA has an Energy Efficient Mortgage that allows you to exceed your loan limit by an amount dependent on your energy efficiency. This program requires an energy assessment, unlike the simple program version of Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy Mortgage. This program allows you to borrow up to $3500 to pay for either energy improvements or an existing Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan, though PACE loans have had mixed results against more traditional forms of financing.

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