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Energy Efficiency: The Upgrades That Sell

Bill Gassett's picture

Adding Energy-Efficient Upgrades That Will Sell Your Home

If you’re looking to move in the next year or you wish to spend forever in your home, spending money on energy-efficient upgrades can be an excellent choice for either situation. The world is changing to become more environmentally conscious, and making these upgrades to your home can often save you money.

Making upgrades to your home if you’re looking to sell is a smart decision to help move the process along, and can often even land you a higher selling price. If you’re having issues selling and want to make some upgrades to your home, before you do, consider these other reasons your home may not be not selling.

Where to Start?

Once you’ve decided to make some energy-efficient upgrades to your home, it's essential to create a plan. You can get an assessment from your local energy department to tell you where the most energy is being wasted in your home. An evaluation could be an excellent starting point. For example, if you have low-quality windows costing you a lot of money on your bills each month and you decide to upgrade your kitchen space instead, you may end up spending money in the wrong place. An assessment can give you a quick head start.

If you bought a fixer-upper house there are probably many places where adding these energy-efficient upgrades will help!

Adding Solar Panels

One of the most popular ways to make your home more energy-efficient is to add solar panels. Putting solar panels on your roof is one of the best ways to go green and make your home more sustainable. It is an excellent way to lower your home's energy bills. Do be sure, however, that when purchasing solar panels, you will be in the house for an extended period of time.

Using solar panels can drastically reduce your energy costs each month. It’s virtually free to harness the power of the sun, aside from the initial investment of the panels, which can be costly. There are options to both lease and purchase solar panels. Still, when dealing with a home sale, leasing might pose a problem, depending on where you live, so buying the solar panel system outright might be the best option. There are also some government rebates for alternative energy like solar, so check with your local government for up to date information.

Lots of people mistakenly believe they can spend tens of thousands of dollars adding solar power and then just tack it onto their home's asking price. Not so fast! When people ask, "do solar panels increase the value of a home," the answer is it depends. Read more in the article at Maximum Real Estate Exposure on when solar panels can actually make your house harder to sell.

Energy Efficient Doors and Windows

One of the most effortless replacements to your home can be your doors and weather stripping. A new entrance and new windows can be a big selling point for home buyers, and they’re known to save 7-15% on energy bills, depending on the model of windows you install. Upgrades that create peace of mind for home buyers are an instant win.

Low Flow Toilets, Faucets, and Shower

Low flow water options for toilets, faucets, and showerheads are a fantastic upgrade to add to your home. They are an addition that lowers your impact without changing anything about your day to day life. Water consumption is a huge issue, and these products are specially designed to drastically reduce consumption without having to do anything but install them.

Adding Insulation

Improving your insulation can enhance and regulate the temperature in your home, it can reduce your heating bills, and it’s a prevalent issue among many properties. Any home that is over ten years old likely has inadequate insulation, and that is definitely an upgrade that should be thoroughly inspected, whether you are selling your home or simply wish to improve its energy efficiency. There are a few different types of insulation that should be considered upon upgrading.

Spray Foam: The ideal insulation for working with an older house and upgrading, and it’s easy to install into finished rooms, like finished basements.

Fiberglass: Made from silica sand that is heated into a glass and woven into fibers, it’s an affordable option, but should be used with caution as it can irritate skin and lungs.

Wool: Renewable, sustainable, fire retardant, and mold resistant, Wool insulation is also easy to install. However, it is not recognized as insulation by all contractors or insurance, so make sure you do proper research before utilizing this form of insulation.

Mineral Wool: Similar to fiberglass in its woven texture, this insulation is more expensive, but it’s helpful for soundproofing and more resistant to extreme temperatures than other insulations.

Cellulose: Made from entirely recycled materials, it’s affordable and environmentally-friendly. It does need to be sprayed with repellent to make sure it can withstand fire, moisture, pests, and mold.

Hiring a professional contractor is recommended when dealing with insulation and having to re-insulate part or all of your home. A professional will be able to determine which insulation will work best for your home, your climate, and your needs.

Adding Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the most notable selling points of a home, the energy-efficient appliances, will be one of the first things to catch a potential buyer's eye. In almost all cases, energy-efficient appliances are standard in newly built homes, so it’s common to find in the real estate market. Kitchens are typically the first room of the house to get tackled in a renovation or upgrade, so appliances should not be left behind. The appeal of beautiful new appliances, the energy savings and reducing the impact on the environment is well worth the investment.


Energy-efficient light bulbs can also help reduce the cost of your bill, and they can last a long time! They cost a little more than typical light bulbs, but they are worth the investment. If you’re looking to go the extra mile, you could even install new windows to increase the amount of natural light in the home, reducing the need to turn on lights around the house.


Ensuring your water heater, your furnace, and even your air conditioner are high efficiency and new are essential to reduce energy drainage. An old furnace can be a massive energy suck, and models on the market now can be fantastic for energy efficiency. There are often government rebates for new heating systems or water heaters, so check out your local government for information. Keeping up on maintenance can help costly repairs and keep the furnace running optimally for much longer than one you don’t maintain as well.

If you’re not ready to invest in a massive remodel of your home, there are some smaller efficiency upgrades you can make. A smart thermometer, preventative maintenance on your furnace and HVAC system, and LED lighting upgrades that can help impact your efficiency in your home. Home renovations are likely to take place in the spring or summer, which makes your home ready to be put on the market in the winter, which can actually be beneficial!

Homes with upgrades such as these are going to sell faster and for a better price than the competition. Consider these upgrades as an investment. Once you determine how much you’ve invested in your energy-efficient upgrades, you and your realtor can adjust the asking price of your home accordingly.

Other Excellent Huliq Real Estate Articles

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a fixer-upper - buying a home that needs a ton of work can be rewarding if you have the skills and expertise that come along with these types of properties. See the pros and cons before jumping into this kind of purchase.

What are the steps to buying your first house - buying your first home can be tremendously exciting. When you have no experience, however, it is easy to make mistakes. Make sure you lean on all the professionals when buying your first property.

Use these additional resources to make smart decisions when entering into a real estate transaction.

About the author: The above article on energy-efficient upgrades that will sell a home was written by Adam Slivka. Adam is the team leader at Integrity Plus Realty and is one of Westmoreland County’s most trusted Realtors. His level of education and knowledge of the market helps you achieve your real estate goals faster with less hassle, and more money in your pocket.

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