As we continue on this journey of our planet hurtling through the solar system, day after day, and we examine the effects of man on the earth and its resources and what we need from it to survive, it becomes increasingly relevant – and important, nay, vital – to convert our homes to cleaner, greener, more sustainable machines. 

A lot goes on to run a home. Water for food prep, cooking, cleaning, and sustaining life outside – not to mention handling waste. Gas for heating and cooking. Electricity to power our tech and light the way. Advances in science and application of those discoveries are nothing really new, but implementing them is still tragically behind. Switching to a new source of energy is a costly endeavor, no doubt. But they’re essential. So how do you determine which is the most sound investment to make for your home?

Return Rates

It’s all going to benefit you and the environment. That’s basic. But the length of time and how much it affects you varies from project to project. So let’s break it down:

Solar Panels – Tons of rebates were created to transition homes to solar energy. There’s a lot at play here – as for every one of these situations – such as the size of your property and the amount of energy typically used. But on average you can expect to earn back what you spent in around 10 to 15 years.

Geothermal HVAC – What a beautiful system. Quiet. Low maintenance. What’s not to love? Nothing. There’s nothing not to love about this system. Not only does it cut your energy bills in half, but you can make back your money in as little as four years, at most fifteen. 

Insulation – Again, this will vary from the size of the area you’re insulating (whole house versus just the attic) and the materials you choose, but recouping the cost of new, or added, insulation is relatively fast. If your attic doesn’t already have insulation, you’re losing a massive amount of heat through an uninsulated attic. 

Green Roofs – They’re more popular in Europe than they are here, but green roofs are actually quite the worthy endeavor. Not only do they provide extra insulation, but they sequester carbon and encourage biodiversity – like the bees (help save the bees!). Plus, they’re gorgeous. You can have a drought proof or lush, water loving garden atop your roof. While one does better at conserving water, you’ll still see savings. Depending on the type and size of your roof, you could be paying on it for anywhere from 3 to 21 years. Proceed with financial caution.

Windows – It’s estimated that around 35% of a home’s heat loss is through its windows. While you can certainly make a difference by caulking new, tighter seals, energy efficient windows contain features that cost a pretty penny. UV coatings and gas fillers are just some of the perks to energy efficient windows. However, when it comes to paying them off, the results are mostly out, and bleak at best. You could be paying for new windows for 20 – 40 years. 

Appliances – Outside of major home energy upgrades, the first, most obvious place to start is with your regular appliances. Sales and rebates through stores or manufacturers have helped many already rise to this occasion. But if you haven’t, jump on it, already!

When it comes to major home upgrades on the energy field, you’ve got options. Government and manufacturer rebates, tax incentives, and sales all aid homeowners in taking the leap. But you’re still likely to need a loan or line of credit to assist. Now with these figures in your mind, you can better choose which upgrades are going to best serve your home.