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Eco-Friendly Home Savings

Friday, 24 Apr 2009 | 10:39 AM ET
Green Invests Here | See Complete Coverage
Green Invests Here | See Complete Coverage

“Greening” your home isn’t cheap. But even with a hefty price tag, more homeowners are turning to eco-friendly home renovations to save money down the road and do something good for the environment.

Green Your Green
Insight on how to use green energy, with CNBC's Carmen Wong Ulrich.

Simone Healy, an “eco-broker” (get ready to hear that term a lot more – it’s essentially the name for a realtor who has gone through a certification program to learn about the aspects of green building), recently oversaw the green renovation of a home in New Jersey that, once the renovation is complete, will be 80-90 percent more efficient even though it is also about 40 percent larger.

The total cost? About $100,000, including everything from the cost of a new heating/cooling system to the solar panels to new insulation. The biggest expense, though, was the solar panels – which ran about $75,000. But before you blow off the idea of greening your home, keep in mind that various rebates and tax credits – not to mention energy savings – can end up making the expense a wise investment, even now.

New Jersey offers a state rebate of $38,000, and solar panels can warrant a federal tax credit of $22,500 in some cases. The energy bill savings is estimated at $2,000 a year and, the best part, the utility grid sellback can save you another $4,000 on an annual basis.

The costs are still there, though, and anyone considering an eco-friendly remodel shouldn’t be doing it just for the savings down the road but for the sense of good that it will do now.