We all know that there are energy saving project we could start this weekend that would save us a boat load in energy bills, but what projects have the biggest return? When you are deciding on which home improvements will be worth your time, it can seem overwhelming. There are a few facts, however, that can help you make these decisions with more confidence.
Considering the project payback is the quickest way to make a strongly backed position on which project will be the biggest money saver for you. Payback is the calculation that will tell you how many years it will take to recuperate your expenditures on the energy investment with energy bill savings. A good example of this is if you install a new energy efficient water heater that costs three hundred dollars more than the standard (less efficient) model, and it saves you about $30 dollars a year it will take 10 years to recoup your investment in the more efficient water heater model. If the water heater were to save you $50 a year the pay back period will be much quicker. Once you have made the money you spent on the new appliance back, the investment is paying you back in savings. There are several terms that factor in to the rate of payback including inflation, age of the house and lifestyle habits, but in the end the shorter the payback period the better the investment.
If you are looking at lowering your energy costs and increasing the efficiency of your home, you should consider one of the top 4 energy-saving home improvements (listed below). These top rated improvements consider not only how much energy they are saving; they also factor in the payback period, cost and skill needed to complete the jobs.
1. Installing compact fluorescent bulbs. This task is very easy and will only cost you about four dollars a bulb. The typical payback for this improvement is a half to a full year.
2. Seal any ceiling air leaks. Sealing the air leaks of your home’s ceilings is an easy task and takes very few tools. The cost is only about $45 (unless you have an inordinate amount of leaky areas. The payback for this improvement is only about 14 months.
3. Install a programmable thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat in your home is very valuable. This task is more difficult that the first ad second home improvements because it involves meddling with the electric system of your home- it is not an impossible DIY project though. The pay back term for this improvement is only about 8-12 months
4. Seal air duct leaks. Leaking air ducts are a common problem in homes built before the year 2000. Even if your home is band new you should have an HVAC or home energy audit professional come and check how effectively your ducts are sealed. The cost of sealing your ducts on your own is only about $40, but for the duct work you are unable to assess on your own, calling a professional could cost you more in the 150-200 range. Still the payback period on this improvement is substantial. It should only take about 1-2 years to see your investment payback.