These days, homeowners are interested in eco-friendly home features, especially when energy efficient systems and appliances will save money on their monthly utility payments. While it wouldn’t make sense to invest in pricey upgrades like solar panels just before moving, there are some small changes that can boost a home’s energy efficiency.
Change the Light Bulbs
Switching out traditional incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) versions in fixtures that will stay, such as sconces, is an easy way to add to a home’s eco-friendly appeal. Although they are more expensive to buy, CFL and LED light bulbs generally use 20 to 80 percent less energy that incandescent bulbs. They also last much longer.
Use Low-VOC Paint
If your sellers plan to freshen up the house with a new coat of paint, suggest they choose a low-VOC option. Of all the chemicals found in paint, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the worst offenders for causing problems to the environment and human health. Fortunately, affordable low-VOC paints are now offered by most major paint brands. If they do use low-VOC paints, you’ll want to point that out to potential buyers.
Insulate the Water Heater
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating typically accounts for 18 percent of home utility bills. Wrapping a home’s water heater with a special insulation blanket helps hold the heat in, making it more efficient. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, burner compartment or thermostat.
Install Faucet Aerators
Adding aerators to the home’s faucets and shower heads limits the water flow, which is good for the environment and for cutting costs on the water bill. Aerators are easy to install and remove, although you may want to skip the master shower if you’re worried that home buyers will be turned off by the lessened water pressure.
Add a Programmable Thermostat
If the home has a simple thermostat that only adjusts the temperature manually, replacing it with a programmable thermostat is a small investment that brings a big improvement. Programmable thermostats can save hundreds of dollars each year by automatically adjusting for day and night, or for times when everyone will be out of the house. Basic models are affordable and easy to install.
Upgrade to Energy-efficient Appliances and Systems
If your seller is planning to upgrade or replace any appliances prior to listing the house, encourage them to look for energy-efficient models. If the property already has energy-efficient appliances, home systems like solar panels or other energy-saving features, make sure they are mentioned in the sales brochure and in the online listing.