Which Eco-Friendly Renovations Have a Great ROI?
Today’s homeowners have taken on a new attitude. Rather than trying to upscale their properties with luxury amenities, many are doing the opposite. They’re finding ways to downscale with the goal of reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste and helping their communities coexist with the environment.
Of course, some big renovations are often required to unlock the home’s full potential for sustainability. That means homeowners must choose their projects carefully to fit their limited budgets. Here are seven eco-friendly renovations with a great return on investment.
A kitchen remodel is one of the best renovations you can make, both in terms of ROI and eco-friendliness. A minor renovation will bring more value than a major overhaul because you need to focus on the kitchen’s utilities rather than the style. This room’s upgrades are all about practicality.
Minor kitchen remodels earn 71.2% ROI on average and increase the property value by more than $20,000. Here are some examples of sustainable kitchen upgrades that will give you great returns:
● Switch to a Smart touchless kitchen faucet.
● Invest in an energy-efficient stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and light fixtures.
● Replace your countertops with marble or recycled materials.
● Reface your wooden cabinets to improve their durability.
Developing a sustainable kitchen also requires you to change your daily habits. You need to eliminate single-use items — especially plastics — and cut back on food waste. You might have to buy new cutlery, cooking utensils and food storage containers. These small changes will support the bigger changes mentioned above, leading to an eco-friendly kitchen.
Bathroom renovations have a 62% average ROI because they improve the room’s comfortability and efficiency. Many homeowners renovate their bathrooms multiple times during their ownership tenures because there’s always room for improvement. Here are some eco-friendly bathroom renovation ideas to get you started:
● Install a low-flow faucet, toilet and shower head.
● Upgrade your plumbing.
● Repair or replace tile floors.
● Replace your old mirror with an LED vanity mirror.
● Switch to low-temperature light fixtures.
● Add a bidet to your toilet.
These upgrades will make your bathroom more relaxing and less wasteful. While replacing the plumbing and appliances will be the hardest part, these additions can lead to significant savings. Homes with efficient plumbing fixtures save about 30% of indoor water use and lead to huge savings on utility bills.
A garage door replacement doesn’t seem like a massive home renovation, but it has the greatest ROI of any project on this list. One nationwide study found that the average garage door replacement returns 94.5% of the money invested for a handful of key reasons:
● Boosts curb appeal
● Improves home security
● Blocks outside noise
● Quieter operation
● Makes heating and cooling more efficient
Although this renovation isn’t as flashy as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, it can be just as impactful in terms of sustainability. After all, it’s the largest opening in your home. A new garage door — wood and steel are the most eco-friendly materials — with some upgraded insulation will stabilize indoor temperatures and prevent the release of emissions.
Solar energy is the cheapest and most accessible form of alternative energy available. It relies on photovoltaic panels that absorb sunlight and convert it into clean, renewable electricity. Solar panels might replace windows altogether with the development of transparent panels that maximize natural sunlight while producing greater energy stores.
Installing solar panels will be expensive, but it should take just three or four years to get a full ROI if you keep them in good condition. Plus, if you ever decide to relocate, you will find it easier to sell the property because panels are highly desirable in the housing market. New homeowners are eager to find houses with existing solar energy.
Investing in solar energy can also come with impressive benefits. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. includes a 30% tax credit for property owners who install new panels before 2032. This incentive makes the installation costs much more manageable, leaving you with no good reason not to make the switch.
When in doubt, adding more energy-efficient appliances is a surefire investment. A few simple additions here and there can significantly increase your property value by improving energy efficiency, lowering utility costs and boosting overall quality of life. Here are the average savings you can expect from Energy Star-certified appliances with reasonable prices:
● Electric water heater: $470 saved per year on electric bills
● Dryer: $20 saved per month on electric bills
● Washing machine: 30% less water usage
● Ceiling fans: 60% more energy efficiency compared to non-Energy Star models
● Dehumidifier: 30% more energy efficiency
● Televisions: 25% more energy efficiency
● Computer monitors: 7% more energy efficiency
If you’ve recently replaced some of these appliances, you don’t have to immediately make another upgrade. In fact, you should use your existing appliances for their whole expected lifespans. You only need to replace them once they begin to deteriorate. Replacing appliances that are only a few years old is counterproductive for your sustainability goals.
Upgrading your HVAC system is another excellent renovation with good returns, averaging an ROI of about 60% and increasing your home’s value by up to 7%. The Department of Energy recommends replacing your HVAC system every 10-15 years, so you might be due for an upgrade regardless of your sustainability goals.
You need to get a new HVAC system as soon as possible if you notice these signs of deterioration:
● The vents make too much noise
● Dust is starting to build up
● Each room has varying temperatures
● The air is too dry in the winter and too humid in the summer
● Your electric bills are steadily rising
Energy Star-certified HVAC systems will bring you the most bang for your buck, using 8% less energy than conventional HVAC models. This single change will cost at least $5,000, but it will make your home more comfortable, affordable and eco-friendly in the long run.
Lots of outdoor renovations are great eco-friendly additions to your home, but the most popular and cost-effective renovation is a wooden deck or porch. Who doesn’t love to gather outside and enjoy a pleasant afternoon with friends and family?
Wooden decks have such great returns because a house with a designated outdoor space for hosting and entertaining is highly attractive to buyers. Plus, decks are luxurious upgrades that can bring visual appeal and functionality to an otherwise unused area of your front or back yard. This principle applies to all climates, even places with harsh winters.
If this renovation sounds attractive to you, make sure you build your deck with recycled or composite wood rather than regular hardwood. Composite wood includes several ingredients — including leftover sawdust and other wood scraps — to create a stronger material that requires little maintenance.
Every home has the potential to be eco-friendly and support the surrounding environment, including yours. You just need to make a few infrastructural improvements. These seven renovations will help you unlock your home’s sustainability potential in no time at all.