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When remodeling your home, an important consideration is the ROI and value the project brings to your home’s overall worth. Remodeling your kitchen is a huge financial investment, but when you sell your home, you’re likely to see a 90 percent return on your improvement. While many improvements affect the visible appeal of a house, improving your home’s energy rating will also increase its value and provide more comfort for you and your family.

What is your home’s energy rating?

The home energy rating analyzes your home’s energy efficiency based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. You could think about it like the miles per gallon on your car. New homes have an average rating of 100 on the HERS Index. If your home has a HERS Index Score of 70, it’s about 30 percent more efficient than the average new home. Most resale homes have a HERS Index Score of about 130, which is about 30 percent less efficient than a new home.

What’s included in measuring an energy rating?

Many different elements are included in the energy rating your home, such as:

  • Your exterior walls
  • Floors, ceilings and roofs
  • Attic, crawlspace, basement and foundation
  • Windows, doors, vents and ductwork
  • HVAC system and thermostat

The HERS Index can help tell you how energy-efficient your home is, but it isn’t necessarily required before making upgrades. You can often feel drafts or notice that you have high utility bills. Home with a greater energy efficiency are more popular on the market for new homebuyers.

Energy-efficient upgrades that offer a high ROI

Whether you’re planning to sell or not, making energy-efficiency upgrades will improve your home’s value and comfort level. Here are a few of the best improvements you can make:

  • Energy-efficient appliances – not only will you see energy savings, but the visual appeal of new appliances is important to new homeowners. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Even if you can’t completely remodel, new appliances will boost the visibility of your home on the market.
  • Energy-efficiency lighting – increased energy savings increases your home’s value. LED lights and motion-sensor light switches can help you save up to $75 on electricity every year. Prospective home buyers want a well-lit home that is energy-conscious.
  • Energy-efficient air conditioner- if your home has an older air conditioner, chances are your energy bills could suffer in the long run. Consider upgrading your unit to a new air conditioner that provides enhanced comfort and improved your home’s energy efficiency.
  • New windows – replacement windows can increase natural lighting and improve energy-efficiency. By choosing the right windows for the climate and window direction, you can reduce your utility bills and improve the look of your home, which equates to a higher value.
  • Outdoor solar lighting – curb appeal is the first impression a potential home buyer gets when they see your home. Using solar lights to highlight paths and increase security around your home makes your home feel safer and modern. There’s no additional cost in electricity, but the home’s value is increased.

Why indoor air quality matters

Most people spend about 90 percent of their time inside. You want the air you breathe indoors to be safe and fresh. Air quality is affected by your air ducts. The better the seals, the fresher your air. Clean air ducts reduce the number of allergens that blow into your home. If you’re ready to sell your home, have the air quality in your home tested and get your air ducts cleaned. Prospective home buyers will appreciate your attention to detail. You’ll enjoy cleaner air.

Work with your realtor and general contractor to get the most out of your home renovations when you’re ready to sell your home. These home professionals will know what improvements will add the most value to your house on the market, so you can spend your money wisely and get the greatest return on your investment.

Katy Peterson is the marketing and communications specialist at Southern Air Heating and Cooling, a professional HVAC and plumbing repair company in northern Louisiana. Katy has been in the industry for almost ten years and enjoys writing about topics that homeowners keep their home repair at minimum expense.