Making updates to improve the energy and water efficiency of your home is good for the environment, and it can also be good for your pocketbook. Learn about efficiency upgrades that can help you reduce your energy and water use and save you money.
Lower electric, gas and water bills are one of the biggest benefits of upgrading the energy and water efficiency in your home. In fact, up-to-date, energy-efficient technologies and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances you can save 20% to 30% on your energy, water and sewer bills, compared to a less-efficient home.
In most cases, efficiency and home comfort go hand in hand. For example, you can enjoy the year-round comfort of fewer temperature variations by caulking and weather stripping to insulate your home. If you upgrade to a tankless water heater, you can get hot water from the tap faster.
Efficiency improvements can boost the resale value of your home as well. A home equipped with energy-efficient products and features is highly desirable among today's homebuyers. Freddie Mac research found that homes with high energy-efficiency ratings sold for 2.7% more on average than unrated homes.
Updates that Improve the Energy and Water Efficiency of Your Home
Before you invest in updates, your first step should be to evaluate where in your home you should make efficiency improvements. The Department of Energy has a series of data-driven tools and calculators to help you determine good starting points, including evaluating the size of your home, when it was built and your location.
You can also hire a professional to perform an energy audit on your home that will help pinpoint where you're losing energy and what renovations will save you money.
There are many easy, immediate improvements that you can make to your home, but if you're willing to invest a little more, here are some options to make larger changes in the energy and water use of your home.
Insulation and Weatherization
Air leaks are one of the biggest sources of energy loss in a home. You can quickly combat these leaks by blocking them with weather stripping, caulking and insulation, especially in the attic. Not only is this one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more energy-efficient and save 10%-20% on your monthly cooling bills, but it also goes a long way in making it more comfortable.
Consider installing a smart, programmable thermostat and turning the temperature up by 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day during the warmer months. This can easily save you 10% on your bills. You can apply the same practice in the colder months, turning down the temperature by 7-10 degrees.
Energy- and Water-Efficient Appliances
Today's energy- and water-efficient appliances can save you big — using less of both with greater capacity. An energy-efficient washer, for example, uses 40% to 50% less energy and about 55% less water than standard washers.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on appliances, such as washers and dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers, and the WaterSense label on showerheads, faucets and toilets. These appliances perform just as well or better than non-verified products and use far less energy and water to get the job done.
Tankless Hot Water Heater
Another effective way to reduce energy use and save water is by installing a tankless hot water heater. Although the initial cost can be expensive, it will pay off in utility savings, because tankless systems let heated water flow more quickly to the taps.
Financing for Efficiency Improvements
There are programs, such as energy efficient mortgages, designed to help you finance improvements to the energy and water efficiency of your home. For example, Freddie Mac GreenCHOICE Mortgages® can be applied to a new home purchase or a no cash-out refinance to cover basic energy efficiency improvements.
Speak with your lender about the financing options available to you and which may best suit your needs.
For more information about maintaining and updating your home, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.