adding value to home

Add Value to Your Home with Energy Efficient Upgrades

Energy efficiency upgrades can not only shrink your utility bill; they can also increase the value of your home.

Homebuyers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In fact, they’re often willing to pay more for homes with “green” upgrades, says Sandra Adomatis, a specialist in green valuation with Adomatis Appraisal Service in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Just how much your home will increase in value depends on a number of factors, Adomatis says, like where you live, which upgrades you’ve made and how your home is marketed at sale time. The length of time to recoup the costs of green upgrades also depends on the energy costs in your area.

In 2014, upgraded homes in Los Angeles County saw a 6 percent increase in value, according to a study from Build It Green, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California, that works with home professionals. Upgraded homes in Washington, D.C., saw a 2 to 5 percent increase in 2015, according to a study Adomatis authored.

While upgrades like a brand new kitchen or a finished basement may give you more bang for your buck than energy-saving features, going green has its benefits.

Here are some common energy upgrades, from least expensive to most.

1. Insulation. A 2016 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine found that the average attic air-seal and fiberglass insulation job costs $1,268, with an added value to the home at resale within a year of completion of $1,482. That amounts to a 116 percent return on investment. And according to Energy Star, homeowners can save $200 a year in heating and cooling costs by making air sealing and insulation improvements

2. Appliances. Your appliances account for about 15 percent of your home’s energy consumption, the DOE says. Certified clothes dryers can save you $245 over the life of the machine, according to Energy Star. A certified dryer from General Electric can run from $649 to $1,399.

When upgrading, look at the kilowatt-hour usage of a new appliance and compare it to your current one — a good Energy Star rating doesn’t necessarily mean it will use less energy than your existing appliance, Adomatis says.

3. Heating and cooling systems. These systems account for about 43 percent of your energy bill, according to the DOE. Replacement costs for an entire HVAC system — heating, ventilation and air conditioning — vary widely depending on equipment brands and sizing but may run several thousand dollars. Energy Star estimates you can save 30% on cooling costs by replacing your central air conditioning unit if it’s more than 12 years old.

While addressing your home’s heating and cooling systems, bear in the mind that leaky duct systems can be the biggest wasters of energy in your home, according to Charley Cormany, executive director of Efficiency First California, a nonprofit trade organization that represents energy efficiency contractors. The cost of a professional duct test typically runs $325 to $350 in California, he says.

4. Windows. Replacing the windows in your home may cost $8,000 to $24,000, and could take decades to pay off, according to Consumer Reports. You can recoup some of that in resale value and energy savings. Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report found that installing 10 vinyl replacement windows, at a cost of $14,725, can add $10,794 in resale value. Energy Star estimates that certified windows, doors and skylights can reduce your energy bill by up to 15 percent. If you’ve already tightened the shell of your home, installing a set of new windows may not be worth the cost. But the upgrade may be worth considering if you live in a colder climate.

5. Solar panels. EnergySage, a company offering an online marketplace for purchasing and installing solar panels, says the average cost of a solar panel system is $12,500. The payoff time and the amount you’ll save will vary depending on where you live. Estimated savings over a 20-year period in Philadelphia, for example, amount to $17,985, while it’s more than twice that amount in Seattle: $39,452, according to EnergySage.

This article was written by November 7, 2016  for NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.


Professional Remodeling Project Managers – Communication is the Key!

Interview with Joe Pizzi, Rule4 Project Manager

Joe has been working in the construction industry for over 10 years and as Rule4 Project Manager for over 1 year. Joe works as onsite project manager for all sized projects offering every client an easy regular contact point throughout the renovation process.

What do you think is the most important part of your role as Project Manager?

Communication, definitely. When customers choose a company like Rule4 to do their renovation they should expect to have regular communication every step of the process.

What does this mean in your daily routine?

At the end of each day I make sure I speak to the customer. If they are not at home when I leave, I make sure that I pick up the phone and talk to them directly or leave a message if I cannot get hold of them.

What do you tend to discuss?

I like to review the day and discuss progress. If things haven’t gone as planned I like the customer to know that I am aware of what’s going on and how we are dealing with it going forward. Personally I don’t consider things that come up as “problems” but just part of the renovation process, which even with all the planning in the world can sometimes throw up the occasional hitch. I find that if we talk at the end of every day “hitches” don’t turn into “issues”.

Apart from communication what else do you pride yourself on?

Protection of the existing home, dust containment and daily clean up. Again with a company like Rule4 all customers should expect that to be part of the customer service we give.

What does this mean in practice?

At the very beginning of a project, before we lift one tool, we spend time preparing the home for renovation. This includes hanging high quality plastic, sealing non renovation areas, laying down floor protection and so on. We spend at least 2 hours on every job, for a larger job this can take up to 4 hours. We even protect TV’s and furniture in adjoining rooms with plastic, dust always finds a way, but it’s minimal if we do our job right. I often get feedback from customers that they were pleasantly surprised how little dust there was – that’s what we strive for.

What does daily clean up involve?

At the end of each day we pride ourselves in cleaning up. Many renovation contracts stipulate “broom swept” at the end of each day. Personally I don’t own a broom, I have a high efficiency vacuum cleaner which frankly does a much better job. We also tend to pack up our tools and take them off the property at the end of each day, although sometimes practically it makes sense to store some neatly on the job site.

 Interview recorded May 31 2012

Between Allison Ellis, Rule4 Marketing Manager & Joe Pizzi, Rule4 Project Manager