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.

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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.