(Family Features) Picking paint colors and ogling kitchen remodels on Pinterest can be fun for homeowners looking to renovate. However, today’s homeowners are looking for upgrades that not only look great, but save money. Energy-efficiency improvements are a smart investment toward curbing energy use, cutting energy bills, and increasing the value of a home.
There are many simple and cost-effective efficiency improvements that homeowners can make. Choosing which to invest in often comes down to economics and how long it will take to recoup costs.
To take the guesswork out of choosing the most cost-effective upgrades, the Propane Education & Research Council ranked the top 10 energy-efficiency improvements. Here are some of the projects that will give a homeowner the most bang for their buck.
- Sealing windows and doors consistently has the best payback for homeowners in all regions of the U.S. Proper air-sealing can reduce air infiltration by 30 percent, and has a payback within one to four years. Sealing leaks can also reduce noise pollution and prevent pollen or dust from entering the home.
- Replacing windows and lighting with more energy-efficient options can significantly reduce energy bills and emissions. Swapping incandescent bulbs with high-efficacy fluorescent bulbs can substantially reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions, and the switch could pay for itself in less than a year.
- Space heating and cooling accounts for the greatest energy use in the house. In many parts of the country, replacing a furnace or boiler with a high-efficiency model can pay for itself within the first year. Additionally, a dual-fuel system, like using a high-efficiency air-source heat pump in tandem with a high-efficiency propane furnace, offers big energy and emissions savings – up to as much as three metric tons each year.
- Water heating is typically the second-largest energy user in the house. Upgrading a system, especially switching from an electric model to a propane-fueled condensing tankless system, can save up to 50 percent and significantly reduce CO2. In addition, new U.S. Department of Energy regulations now in effect mean that older water heaters between eight and 12 years of age need to be updated to meet new efficiency standards.
For more money-saving, cost-efficient upgrade ideas, visit www.propane.com/residential.
Source: Propane Education & Research Council