Energy Efficient Upgrades

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate
When walking through a home, the eye-catching higher end details often stand out. Great hardwood floors. Solid surface counter tops. Wonderful paint colors. Garden tubs. Six panel, solid wood doors.

Don't forget to ask about the things that are not as easy to see. Look for higher end upgrades in energy efficient features. These upgrades in a home will not only improve your comfort, but they also will save you money, making a home more affordable in the long run.

Take a good look at the windows. Are they a basic builder's grade window, or has the homeowner splurged with low e glass and argon fill? Windows can be a source of enormous heat loss in a home, and quality windows are a huge money saver in the long run. There are many different types of windows, and The Efficient Window Collaborative has an informative website explaining some of the differences.

What is the r-value of the insulation? This one is not easy to see, so ask the seller for documentation if they can provide it. Higher r-values make a home less expensive to both heat and cool.

Have the ducts been sealed? Heating and cooling combined account for about 46% of a home's energy cost on average. With a forced air system, ducts that have been sealed and insulated can prevent energy loss significantly.

Check out the efficiency rating for the heating and cooling system. An Energy Star system is one upgrade that will save you a lot of money over the years.

Those stainless steel appliances might look pretty, but will they cost you a pretty penny to operate? Even low end, inefficient appliances are available in very modern and appealing finishes. Look on the sides of the doors for efficiency ratings or write down the model numbers and check them out online after you take a look at a home.

Ask for copies of the seller's utility bills for the previous twelve months. Yes, there are lifestyle differences the can affect energy usage, but at least you will have a ballpark idea of how much your utility costs would be.

If you buy a highly efficient home, you may be able pay for the cosmetic upgrades you want with the money you are saving on your utility bills. The hidden upgrades can save you big money as the years go by!
Posted by


Brenda Carus
Towne Square Realty
Certified EcoBroker, Re/Max Green Agent
Monroe Area Real Estate

Looking for a place to live a real life? Know your neighbors, eat local, abandon your commute, be part of a community - come to Green County. Whatever your preference is, we have it all from surprisingly urban to truly rural and everything in between.


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  1. Andrea Peters 02/26/2010 09:30 AM
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Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434 - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Brenda, You have pointed out to buyers the really important items in a home to watch for.  The savings they will gain in the long run makes these energy savers into budget savers.

Feb 26, 2010 09:11 AM #1
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Very nice Brenda. Well thought out and written. These are items are key in a home, as you pointed out. Windows and doors can cost you upwards of 30% or more in heat loss. That's a lot of money out the window if you will. Good job.

Feb 26, 2010 11:19 PM #2
Home Energy Team
Home Energy Team - Fairfax, VA

Hi. It's nice to see some realtors who are interested in green homes and home energy. Becoming more knowledgeable about these issues can really set you apart from your competition. Here's a short video from Home Energy Team with more information about how you can stay on top of these trends to deliver added value to your clients and even boost your business.

Apr 05, 2010 10:49 AM #3
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