5 sustainable home upgrades that make a big difference

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(BPT) – Sustainable home upgrades are becoming more and more popular as people look to renovate their homes and protect the planet. These eco-friendly improvements can make your home more comfortable and help you save money over time.

And while you might have to invest some initial money and effort in these upgrades now, it’s well worth it. They not only benefit the planet – they’ll save you money in the long run and increase the value of your home.

Here are five sustainable upgrades to add to your project list that will offer the best return on your investment.

1. Energy-efficient windows

Energy-saving windows are an important consideration for new and old homes alike. Designed to prevent your warm or cooled air from escaping your home, they provide increased insulation to lower your energy use and costs. If you’re installing new windows, look for the Energy Star rating and review the energy performance label to find the most efficient windows for your home.

2. Solar roof

Solar technology is an essential feature for a truly sustainable home, and now it’s more accessible than ever before. GAF Energy launched Timberline Solar, a first-of-its-kind solar roof that features nailable, ultra-thin solar energy shingles. These shingles are durable, weatherproof, and easy to install, with a sleek design compared to traditional solar panels. A solar roof requires an initial investment, but in the long term, you could produce enough electricity to power everything in your home – saving you hundreds of dollars per year while potentially increasing your home’s value, too! For more information, visit gafenergy.com.

3. Tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters are an energy-efficient way to provide hot water in your home – and a big trend in real estate this year. These water heaters can be powered by gas or electric and can save you up to 70 percent on your heating bills. And because they’re so compact, you can install it anywhere without sacrificing storage space. Plus, they can last up to 20 years, which is much longer than traditional water heaters.

4. Smart home appliances

When it’s time to shop for new appliances, remember to look for the Energy Star label, just like with energy-efficient windows. Energy Star certified appliances are marked with a special sticker that details their efficiency statistics and estimated yearly operating costs and energy consumption. It’s also important to be mindful about choosing the right sized appliances for your needs. Bigger appliances can often mean more energy use and higher bills.

5. Skylights

Artificial lighting is one of the biggest energy-users in your home. For rooms that get limited natural light, consider installing a skylight. This will draw in sunlight so you can use less electricity. When choosing your skylight, make sure to look for the Energy Star certification.

Consider these eco-friendly upgrades to boost your energy savings in a big way and help the planet at the same time.