If you’ve been putting off changes to make your home more energy-efficient, industry experts are suggesting that you invest in those upgrades now, before high demand leads to an increase in price.
According to BankRate, homeowners looking for ways to save money should start with limiting the energy they use in their home. The U.S. Department of Energy recently said that the average home spends a whopping $2,200 on energy costs alone.
Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a non-profit organization that spreads awareness of energy efficiency, says that home appliances are a good place to start for savvy homeowners.
Older appliances often require large amounts of energy to perform simple tasks, and Callahan says that newer models are built to conserve energy while offering improved performance.
“You want to be smart and save money, you buy an energy-efficient appliance,” Callahan said.
While she recognizes that the higher costs of new appliances could cause some homeowners to hesitate, she points to the long-term savings in energy usage that will make these investments more than worth their while.
“In many instances,” Callahan says, “it will make a difference.”
Homeowners looking for a more definitive answer to their energy problems should first focus on the home itself. Making energy-smart renovations like proper insulation and installing a metal roof can save a family thousands of dollars a year.
Metal roofs often help homeowners save up to 25% on their annual energy bill, and properly insulating a home will lower the costs of temperature control during summer and winter months.
If lower monthly bills aren’t enough incentive to motivate homeowners, Kiplinger reports that Congress may revive a tax credit equal to 10% of energy-efficient home improvements, with a maximum return of $500.
Congress has already approved a renewable-energy tax credit that reimburses up to 30% of the cost for alternative energy projects, such as fitting your home with solar panels or a wind turbine.
David Arkush, director of the non-profit climate program at Public Citizen in Washington, D.C., recommends trying large-scale tactics like metal roofs and insulation before rushing to buy unneeded appliances.
“A brand-new dishwasher isn’t going to pay for itself very quickly,” Arkush said. “If your dishwasher’s dying and you need a new one, you might as well get one that’s more efficient, that’s for sure.”
While their tactics differ, one thing remains constant: industry experts agree that taking small steps to make your home energy-efficient will lead to big-time savings in the long run.