Is Greener Necessarily Cheaper?

Over the past few years there has been a global push toward green improvements. This has taken place at all levels of homeownership from construction to remodeling. While some homeowners go green for the environmental advantages many are looking for greater energy efficiency and therefore greater utility savings. But do all green improvements mean savings?

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Tankless Water Heaters

A trend making its way around the housing circles is the installation of tankless water heaters. These systems are thought to provide an instant and constant supply of hot water as well as lowered utility costs. According to an article by Consumer Reports, however, these claims simply don’t seem to hold water.

While tankless systems have been proven to offer enhanced efficiency over their traditional counterparts their cost and installation expense is what puts them just out of the boundary of being a reasonable investment. Check out this article for more information.

Solar Panels

There has been a lot of talk recently about solar energy, especially in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy. Still homeowners remain intrigued by the idea of decreasing or eliminating their dependency on traditional utility sources, and for good reason: over the past few years the amount of after-tax income that families spend on utilities has continued to increase.

While you might find yourself all ready to jump on your roof and strap down some solar panels when you open your monthly utility bill the cost of the panels and installation could give you pause. According to an article on Discovery.com the starting price for installation of a solar panel system is $5000.00, no small amount of money for the average homeowner.

The article does go on to mention that the investment should pay off with adequate conditions (proper sun exposure, system , etc.) over a 5-10 year period. It’s also possible to recoup some of the start-up cost through federal and state rebates for this type of improvement. Click here for more information on investing in solar energy.

An important thing to remember about making green improvements with financial return in mind is how long you intend to inhabit the property. With most green updates you’re not likely to see return in utility savings over initial investment for a matter of years, so if you plan on selling soon you might get only a portion of your investment back in the form of property value depending on the particular improvement and your market. While some of these investments might not prove fully financially worthwhile they do decrease your carbon footprint which carries a benefit all its own.

Alicia Murphy

Alicia Murphy is a licensed real estate agent. My freelance writing career began simultaneously with my Real Estate career in 2010. As a Realtor I’ve worked primarily with buyers in finding them their dream home and have experience in foreclosure sales, but I've also represented sellers in marketing and selling their homes. As we await the bolstering return of the Real Estate market I will continue to adapt to ever-changing conditions and continue to provide first-rate service to my clients.

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