June 17, 2024

Energy-saving home improvements have been a buzzword for some time now. With all of the “green” products available today, its no wonder so many people are getting scammed. It’s hard to ignore the predictions of global warming and other self-made natural disasters that occur from our constant use of fossil fuels. While many of these energy-saving home improvements actually do reduce our carbon footprint, the cost of materials and installation far outweighs the actual money savings. This translates into years or even decades of waiting to recoup that cash.

If you’re going to install energy-saving home improvements, make sure the cost doesn’t outweigh the savings. For instance if you want to install low-e windows to replace the old ones, you might consider this. If the cost to replace the existing windows is $500 a window and you have 10 windows in your home it will cost you $5000. Let’s say Joe window installer charges us $1000 in labor, which puts us at $6000 even.

Now you have to find out the cost of last years heating and cooling bill. This is roughly 65-70 percent of your electric bill or other energy bill. Factor in natural gas, LP, kerosene or other heating and cooling gases if you use those versus electric heat. We’ll say for this scenario we use $2500 worth of electric last year and 65 percent of that was for HVAC. This leaves us $1560 each year for heating and cooling if fuel costs never went up. We’ll factor that in later.

Each year low-e windows save an average of 30 percent. 30 percent of $1560 (our heating costs) is $468 in savings. It will take us almost 13 years to recoup the cost of the low-e windows.

But wait we haven’t factored in the ever rising cost of energy! The cost of fuel rises approximately 1 percent each year. Taking that into account, in 13 years you’ll save $6463.39 putting you $463.39 ahead. In a little over 12 years you will have saved enough to recoup the initial investment of $6000.

Keep in mind that the energy savings versus the cost of materials and labor doesn’t always pay for itself very quickly. Always check the savings versus the cost before installing any so called money/energy-saving home improvement.

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