Rating Green House Upgrades that Pay You Back

Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 by in Articles

One Block Off the Grid recently published a great infographic that answers the question, “What green house plans will pay for themselves and more?” It’s a fantastic summary of some of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make to your home that have an excellent return on investment over time.

You should definitely take a look at the full infographic, but here’s a quick summary of some of the One Block Off the Grid’s main conclusions:

  • Programmable thermostat: The cheapest green upgrade on the list, adding a programmable thermostat to your heating and cooling system will only cost about $115, but will return big time. These gadgets reduce heating and cooling costs by about $180 every year, for a payback just over a half of a year, and total 20-year savings of $3,600.
  • High efficiency shower heads: One of the least expensive green house upgrades, this will cost you about $180, save you about $300 per year in water and water heating costs, and pay for itself in less than a year. Over 20 years, you’ll reap about $6,000 in total savings.
  • Duct Sealing: This simple and inexpensive upgrade will run about $450 but will save you about $300 annually, which means you’ll have the upgrade paid off in 1.5 years. And you’ll achieve $6,000in 20 years.
  • Wall insulation: By upgrading your wall insulation for about $750, you’ll achieve annual heating and cooling savings of about $300, with a payback of 2.5 years and a total 20-year savings of $6,000.
  • Furnace replacement: This is a medium-cost upgrade, running about $1,145 for the up-front cost, but with a $300/year return, and a 3.8 year payback. The 20-year savings are about $4,320.
  • Solar Hot Water: Original cost for this renewable energy hot water heater will be about $2,500 to install, but will save about $280 annually for water heating, and $5,600 over 20-year period. That means it’s paid off within 8.9 years.
  • Solar PV Electric: This entire setup might cost around $13,000 and will provide clean energy savings you about $1,200 per year or $60,000 over the life of the system. That means a payback in about 10.8 years.

Of course, there are some larger ticket items, like installing a geothermal system that will provide big savings, too, but these ideas should get your brain considering the upsides of making investments in your green house.

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