There’s nothing better than a win-win situation, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with certain home improvements that increase efficiency. You’ll enjoy improved comfort along with lower monthly utility bills and potentially increasing the value of your home. Plus, energy efficiency is a priority for today’s buyers and renters, which means these improvements make a home more desirable as well.

Which energy efficiency improvements are worth the investment? Prioritize your projects, perhaps focusing on the projects below to get the biggest increases in value and energy efficiency.

HVAC System Maintenance, Repair and Replacement

In most areas of the country, heating and cooling is the biggest chunk of energy usage for a residential property. Repairing, maintaining and/or replacing your HVAC system is a significant investment, but it’s also a big value and energy efficiency booster.

If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old it may be time to look for a newer, more efficient model. Regular maintenance can also impact energy efficiency and the cost of operation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners get annual HVAC servicing to also improve the longevity of equipment. Local and regional companies like may even offer special discounted memberships for homeowners that want annual HVAC servicing.


Remodeling Magazine’s annual cost vs. value report gives homeowners an idea of how much value they gain from making a home improvement.  This year fiberglass attic insulation topped the list for highest return on investment. The national average cost for fiberglass attic insulation is $1,343, and the national resale value is $1,446. That means you should recoup around 108% of the cost.

Steel Front Door

One of the easiest and most cost-efficient improvements to make before selling a home is replacing the front door. A new steel entry door is also one of the top improvements on Remodeling Magazine’s cost vs. value report. Homeowners can expect to recoup over 90% on the cost of a steel front entry door. The new door can also be fitted and weatherized to eliminate costly air leaks that decrease energy efficiency.

Smart Thermostat

Any type of programmable thermostat is going to be an energy saving value-add. ENERGY STAR experts estimate that using a programmable thermostat decreases energy bills by about 10% a year.

Today’s smart thermostats go above and beyond programming temperatures. The Nest thermostat is leading the way in smart climate control. Nest allows you to do more than set schedules and control the temperature remotely with your phone. It’s designed to learn your preferences and do all the work for you.

  • After installing Nest will make note of the room temperatures over several days to determine ideal settings.
  • Motion detectors allow Nest to know if anyone is in the room or at home and will adjust the settings accordingly.
  • You can also set it to an energy efficient mode.

Double or Triple Glazed Windows

Windows are one of the hidden energy wasters. They can increase heat loss in the winter and allow heat to penetrate through in the summer. But no one wants to live in a home with no windows.

Double glazed windows, also known as double pane windows, are much more secure and energy efficient compared to single pane windows. Double pane windows are made with two sheets of glass that have a gas-filled space in between. Triple pane windows, as the name foretells, have three panes of glass with pockets of gas in between. Increasing energy effeciency even more.

The type or style of window you select will also influence how energy efficient it is. Styles that have low air leakage rates include awning, casement and hopper windows.

Backup Generator

A backup generator may not save energy, but for some people, it’s invaluable if there’s a power outage. Buyers and renters see the value in having a piece of equipment that will keep the electricity on when the grid goes down. However, this is more of a regional investment. In areas like Florida, where there are hurricanes and in the northeast where snowstorms knockout power, a backup generator makes sense.

New ENERGY STAR Appliances

If you’re looking to flip or sell a home for top dollar, new kitchen appliances will do the trick. ENERGY STAR appliances have been independently tested and shown to use less energy than standard models. In addition to saving money on the electric bill, there are often rebates for purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances for the home.

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