Solar panels are generally installed with the goal of reducing power bills in homes and businesses. However, even better results are possible when a solar power system is combined with other sensible energy efficiency measures. In this case, there are two amounts that get subtracted from your bill: the kilowatt-hour savings achieved by efficient appliances, and the clean power produced by solar panels.
Keep in mind that solar panels don’t reduce the amount of electricity consumed by your property. They reduce the net consumption measured by the power meter, but your total energy usage remains the same.
For example, if a home uses 15,000 kWh per year and a rooftop solar system generates 9,000 kWh, the power meter will only register 6,000 kWh of net consumption. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the home is using 15,000 kWh.
If you happen to live in a house with a nice backyard that gets plenty of sunshine, and you are the type of person who loves to entertain your guests and family outdoors, then investing in an outdoor kitchen can be a great way to make your home not only more valuable, but also more enjoyable. 😉
Cost-wise, an outdoor kitchen can cost anywhere from $7,500 to $35,000 for a fairly basic set-up, and between $50,000 and $100,000 for a more luxurious outdoor kitchen. On a per square foot basis, costs tend to run anywhere from $35 to $75 per sq. ft. depending on the choice of materials, the complexity of your design, and home’s geographic location.
ROI: If the upgrade you chose is appropriate for your area, and won’t price your home out of the market, then you can expect an ROI of up to 100% or more depending on the extent of work you had done and how suitable it’s for your particular house. To get the most bang for your buck, consider selling the home with an outdoor kitchen in the summer!
A deck can make a major difference in terms of curb appeal and enjoyment value for your home.
Cost-wise: a typical deck will range in price from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity of the design and the type of materials used. For DIY enthusiasts, a basic deck can be built for around $3,500. Average cost per square foot: $35 – $55, depending on the materials used, complexity of your design, and your home’s location.
ROI: Aside from a 100%+ return on enjoyment value and popularity with your friends and family, you can expect a return on investment of 80% to 100%, if you choose the right materials and appropriate design.
Oh would it not be great to extend your home outdoors? That’s right, outdoors, where you can enjoy a bit of sun and fresh air, while also having a sense of shelter? That’s what a Pergola is! — An outdoor structure designed to shelter you from the sun.
There is not a better way to make your enjoyment of the backyard more stylish and fun. A pergola can be combined with a deck, or placed tastefully on your patio, with patio furniture right under the pergola. Pergolas can also be placed around outdoor kitchens.
Cost-wise: You can have a pergola professionally built for $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of your design. For DIY enthusiasts, a classy pergola can be built for around $1,000.
ROI: Like many other smaller outdoor home improvements, a pergola can have an ROI exceeding 100%, not too mention the enjoyment factor that a homeowner will derive from having a pergola in their property. 😉
The bottom line is that if your pergola is tastefully integrated with the rest of the features on your property, then you can easily recoup the cost of your investment. 😉
There are two reasons homeowners want to make their homes greener; some people want to go green to protect the environment. Others will go green because it results in more green dollar bills in their wallet.
Fortunately, the two don’t have to be exclusive; you can protect the environment and save money at the same time. A big way to do so is to make sure that you have adequate insulation and ventilation for your roof and the attic space.
Heat rises, and that means most of the heat loss from your home goes out the top of the house. This is especially true if you don’t have adequate insulation and sealing in your attic’s floor space. To make sure your home is as comfortable as possible, to ensure minimal heat loss, to save money on your heating bills, and to help protect the environment, an upgrade in your insulation is in order.
A Wide Variety of Insulation Options
Making the decision to improve your home’s attic and roof insulation is the easy part. The hard part, however, is determining what type of insulation to use, and where to put it.
The easiest (unless you’re having a new roof put on the house), and most effective, way to boost the insulation in your home is to insulate and air seal the attic floor. Many homes have at least some access to this space, and because of the size attics can hold quite a bit of insulation. But where you put the insulation, and what type, can vary even inside the space.
Between the Joists – If you have an unfinished attic space, the most common area to insulate is between the ceiling joists but leaving the area between rafters uninsulated. This provides for maximum air flow through the attic while keeping the living space insulated.
Most commonly the spaces between the joists are filled with blow-in fiberglass insulation. However, the do-it-yourselfer may want to lay down fiberglass batting as it’s easier to work with and there is no special equipment needed. How much should you have? It’s recommended that the R value be at least R-38; or 10-14 inches of insulation.
Between the Rafters – Many homes have increased their living space by finishing the attic. But without insulating the ceiling, the space would be largely uninhabitable most of the year. If this is the case, then you want to insulate between the rafters.
Before you slap up insulation, however, you must remember that the house needs room to “breathe.” If your insulation is pressed tightly against the bottom of the roof decking, there’s nowhere for the air to go, and you can end up with major problems. To counter these problems, baffles are installed to keep a small space between the insulation and the roof deck. As the air in the baffles heats up, it can flow to the peak and out the roof vent.