Heal the planet (and help your wallet) with these 6 home improvements with a high ROI

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There is good news in the fight against climate catastrophe: many of the changes that support Mother Earth also mean more green in your wallet. The right home improvements with a high ROI will improve your living space, add value to your investment while reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint.

Which one you choose depends on your needs, budget and DIY knowledge. Here are six ways you can heal the planet and help your wallet with home improvements.

1. Painting

While painting may not have much of an impact on your carbon footprint, it does have an impact. Lighter colored paints reflect the sun’s rays instead of retaining heat, reducing the need for air conditioning in hot climates. This rule applies to your exterior color choices as well as your interior, especially in rooms with sliding glass doors or large windows.

Best of all, painting is one of the cheapest home improvements you can make yields an impressive 107% ROI. Start with a single room and hone your skills before moving on to more advanced projects. Exterior painting may require a contractor, although those with one-story homes can tackle the task with the right paint sprayer. Always wear a safety helmet and ensure that a second person is present when carrying out ladder work and call a professional if you need scaffolding.

2. Add insulation

Here’s another relatively inexpensive improvement with a high ROI that will help the planet, especially when it comes to your home has an uninsulated garage, basement, crawl space or attic. Such locations bleed energy. Fortunately, you can usually make such installations yourself with the right protective equipment.

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Installing insulation in interior walls is more difficult. You may need to drill holes to blow it in as you maneuver around electrical boxes and pipes. If you’re unsure, call a professional. A well-insulated house saves up to 15% on your energy bills and also makes your home quieter – a good selling point.

3. Upgrade windows and doors

Another common point of energy loss in homes is your windows and doors. An easy way to insulate your garage is to upgrade the door; that is often possible earn back up to 85% of the initial investment costs when you sell.

Drafty windows may need to be replaced or simply caulked a bit. However, upgrading from single-panel models to newer dual-panel models can provide savings 24% on energy costs in winter and 18% in summer. Entry doors often need little more than new weather stripping to keep out drafts, although upgrading to steel increases security while providing superior insulation compared to wood.

4. Improving your outdoor living space

Blinds aren’t the only way to keep the August sun from turning the room next to your south-facing window into an oven. A strategically planted row of cypresses or similar tall hedge-like trees enhances your privacy while dimming the sun’s rays and reducing AC needs. Likewise, they can serve as a windbreak when the cold usually blows from the same direction.

Gardens beautify your outdoor living space and provide a destination for all the compost made from your food scraps. Plus, rain gardens can keep water out of your basement, saving you a ton of money on cleaning supplies that can increase your carbon footprint. If you want to go even further in greening your home, consider a rainwater collection system that you can use in your landscaping, directing it where you want it instead of letting it wash away.

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5. Upgrade your lighting

Upgrading your lighting can be as simple as replacing old bulbs with better models. If you have 40 lights in your home, today’s LEDs can save you almost $750 per year.

But why stop there? Today’s LED light strips allow you to add under-cabinet lighting without installing extensive wiring. Highlight your entertainment center and opt for color-changing strips to create atmosphere. This will make a striking impression during home viewings.

6. Convert to solar energy

This upgrade offers the best ROI if you plan to live in your home for years to come. According to Jamie Haenggi, president of ADT Solar, most solar systems pay for themselves in six to twelve years. Moreover, home buyers are willing to pay up to $15,000 more for a home equipped with this upgrade.

Congress also recently expanded solar tax credits. Think strategically, run the numbers, and consider slashing your electric bill (mostly) while minimizing your home’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Sustainable home improvements with a high ROI

Making the right improvements to your home will increase your return on your investment by adding value to your property. Moreover, it increases your living enjoyment and you keep more green in your wallet.

Best of all, many of these improvements can be done yourself, saving you labor costs. All you need is a little sense, a little time and a small initial investment to make a big difference in your home – and your planetary home.


Author biography

Oscar Collins is editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about health and fitness. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for regular updates on his work, and subscribe to Modded Minute for more!

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