With the growing green revolution taking place across Canada and here in Calgary, potential buyers and homeowners are looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. This includes the willingness to pay a higher price for a home with longer-term sustainability and green features.
The Calgary green trend is driving forward at critical speed and Calgary's not prepared to be left in the dust. As the nation's energy city, Calgary still needs to do its part in greening up the country and fortunately Calgarians are stepping up to the task at hand.
Here are some of the best high-ROI energy-efficient home renovations that are practical, will save you money and will help to add value to your home.
The Benefit of Energy-Efficient Real Estate
Green real estate is on the rise and it's not going to go anywhere soon. During the last decade our eyes have been opened to the rapid deterioration of the planet and we have been left wondering what will happen to our children and our children's children in the coming years.
Green real estate is one of the solutions that are going to put things into place to make things better for the coming years. The trend is going to get much stronger in the very near future as well. It's time to jump on the wave and invest in the real estate that everyone's going to be looking for very soon.
Why not do your part and help protect the environment by purchasing green homes as well? These properties are hot and when you invest your money into them you can expect to see great returns.
Green elements are turning up in newer construction and can be found in many condos, apartments, homes and commercial buildings. While it often costs more to produce these types of buildings, construction companies are also realizing that they can sell these properties at a higher price. It is no longer a matter of simple economics that is running the Calgary construction industry, since there is a growing market of people that are looking for green properties all the time.
Green Home Improvements to Make to Your Home
While green home improvement projects like solar panels have caught on, they lack a fast return on investment. If home owners don't envision remaining in their home for 10 or more years, they may never recoup what they put into something like solar panels, even if they get provincial rebates for the panels. Wondering how to make your home more energy efficient, maintaining a high ROI and increasing home energy efficiency at the same time? Start with these top 5 projects to save money and conserve resources.
Insulate and Seal Air Leaks
On average, Calgary area homeowners can reduce their energy costs by 15 percent by insulating attics, basement rim joists, and floors above crawl spaces and by sealing air leaks around windows and doors. Sealing air leaks blocks warm air from seeping outside during winter (and the reverse in summer). As a result, home owners need to use less energy to feel comfortable in their homes—which translates directly to a lower carbon footprint.
This is a good project to commit to before investing in renewable energy. If home owners don't tackle their energy leaks, they'll continue to waste energy whether it's renewable or non-renewable.
Install Energy Star® Rated Appliances
If you're in the market for new appliances and fixtures make sure that they have an Energy Star rating attached to them first. The new fridge and stove that you purchase may end up being sold with your home in the future, and offering energy-saving appliances along with your property can be an attractive selling feature.
When it comes to installing bathroom fixtures, look for low/dual flush toilets and shower heads that reduce water usage. All of these changes can be noted later when your house is put on the market and home buyers are looking through the green features that your house has to offer.
Switch to LED Lights
While LED lights cost more up-front, they consume much less energy than incandescent and CFL bulbs. They also last a lot longer. Since lighting typically represents 10 percent of utility costs, home owners can see an instant ROI just by spending an afternoon replacing inefficient lightbulbs with LED bulbs.
Canadian provinces may offer lighting rebates that can offset the higher cost of LED bulbs. For example, Saskatchewan residents can purchase discounted Energy Star bulbs twice a year. Home owners can identify lighting rebates using the Natural Resources Canada database.
Install or Upgrade Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can be used in any type of weather. In the winter you can use them to push the warm air down and in the summer switch them on to make the heat rise to help keep your place cool.
Use Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Cochrane homeowners can curb their water consumption by half—which translates directly to lower water bills and conserves this valuable natural resource—by adopting low-flow fixtures throughout the home. Older toilets can be replaced with dual-flush, low-flow toilets. Faucets and showerheads can be replaced with low-flow models. Since fixtures are inexpensive, this is a budget-friendly fix.
Convert to a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats may pay for themselves in the first year, with an average per-year savings of $150.
What's more, programmable thermostats tend to be more accurate than older models. Once programmed, the smart thermostat will come on in the morning for a warm home or Calgary condominium, shut off while the home lies empty all day long, then heat up again for after-work hours. Home owners will be able to figure out the precise setting that's best for home comfort, then know they're only using as much energy as they really need to stay comfortable.
These thermostats take all of the guesswork out of setting the home temperature. Without a correct reading on the thermostat you’ll probably find yourself fiddling with the controls trying to find the right comfort level. With a digital model you'll never be left out in the cold again wondering how warm the room really is.
Use Recycled Materials
Almost any of the materials that you may need for renovations can be purchased in recycled form. Salvaged building materials can also be used to add to the green value of your home.
Upgrade to a Tankless Water Heater
Have you heard about the new tankless water heaters? These gadgets are simply amazing. Instead of heating tankfuls of gas at a time you can think of them as a sort of "hot water on demand" system for the home. People using these heaters have reported savings in hot water costs on a yearly basis.
Energy Star tankless water heaters consume 30 percent less energy than storage tanks, when they're serviced regularly for efficiency. Home owners will enjoy a stream of hot water on demand while paying only to heat the water they use, instead of paying to keep a large tank waiting on standby. Alberta residents enjoy a provincial rebate on tankless water heaters, making this an especially smart pick for Albertans.
Cash savings from these high-ROI energy efficiency upgrades can help home owners save money for high-value projects that cost more upfront and take longer to pay back. By starting small, McKenzie Towne home owners can work up to the projects on their bucket list while reducing their energy consumption and creating a more energy efficient home in the meantime.
Install Double-Pane Windows
While not the flashiest of all the energy efficient improvements, installing double-pane windows can help home energy efficiency quite a bit. Double-pane windows, as the name implies, use two sheets of glass that provide an extra layer of insulation that single-pane windows don’t have. Double-pane windows can even be up to 50% more energy efficient than traditional windows, which means the monthly heating and cooling bills will reflect that extra efficiency. Here is some more information about double-pane windows that interested homeowners should know:
- Windows can reduce heat loss by up to 50%.
- Homeowners can see a 20-30% reduction in heating costs.
- Homeowners can see a 10-20% reduction in cooling costs.
- Windows also provide insulation against noise from outside.
In addition to double-pane windows, there are also triple-pane windows that use three sheets of glass and provide even more insulation than double-pane windows. However, triple-pane windows are even more money than both single- and double-pane windows because of the extra material required to make them.
How to Find an Energy-Efficient Resale Home
When you are looking for green homes, here are some quick tips you can use to help find them. Along with your real estate agent, you'll be able to know better what to look for during your quest for the perfect home.
Look at the Appliances
If you have found a home that is offering appliances with it, don't forget to check them out first. The appliances you use in your home will make a drastic difference in terms of the amount of energy you use throughout the years. Look for an energy rating on the appliances.
If the appliances are very old, you may want to consider not including them in the purchase price. While it may cost you extra to buy your own appliances for the home, you'll be saving so much money in utility costs within the first year alone that it may cover a lot of the purchase price of these new appliances. Green houses in do not include energy wasting appliances.
Check the Insulation
Find out what type of insulation is in the home. A well-insulated house will keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and won't have a lot of drafts entering the home.
Look at the Windows and Doors
A lot of energy is burned throughout the house when ineffective doors and windows have been installed. Check for drafts and look at the seals to make sure they are still in good shape and don't show any evidence of cracking or peeling. Green houses usually have newer doors and windows installed that are much more energy efficient than their older counterparts.
Ask to See the Utility Bills
It is easy to be given a quote on utility bills with figures rounded up or down, but it is also nice to see for yourself exactly how much is being spent on energy consumption each month. If you're serious about purchasing a home, you can ask the seller directly whether you can see a copy of his bills. Some won't mind showing them to you while others will. It doesn't hurt to ask.
Which Direction is the House Facing?
While you'll want the major windows in your home to be facing the sun with an eastern or western exposure, you'll also want to make sure that the windows aren't blocked from the exposure by any neighbouring homes. Go right up to the windows and see if there is a direct path between the sunlight and your windows. Exposure to sunlight will not only decrease your utility bills but it will also make your home lighter, brighter and cheerful.
Take Steps to Make Your Home Energy Efficient Today
These are just a few of the things that you should be looking for when examining green houses in Calgary. If you want more information about energy-efficient homes in the area, give your agent a call. He can provide you with all the information you need about the green houses for sale in the city.
Improving home energy efficiency helps not only homeowners but the planet and the environment, and these energy efficient upgrades can help any homeowner’s home energy efficiency as well as save the homeowner money.