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Top 5 Home Upgrades That Deliver Great Returns

Project Planning
May 15, 2017

We all have that "someday" list of things we'd love to do to our homes. So how do you prioritize them? Should you remodel your kitchen or upgrade your windows? Add a new deck or a new solar system?

Renovate America can help you finance virtually any project on your someday list, but there are five home projects you should do sooner than later, as they can help lower your utility bills and may increase your home’s value.

1. Replace your roof for an average cost recovery of 105% when you sell.1

Cost recovery of an energy-efficient roof

Reducing the amount of heat transferred inside your home with Energy Star-qualified roof products, like cool roofs, can significantly lower roof surface temperature. This can reduce your air conditioning usage by an average of 10-15%2 during the hottest hours of the day. Want to save even more? Couple that cool roof with new air sealing to lower your home's energy usage, increase its durability, and create a more comfortable home. Insulation sees a 95% average cost recovery as well.1

2. Go solar for an average cost recovery of 97%.2

Cost recovery of solar panels

Sick of rising utility costs? Solar is one of the biggest ways to take control of your electricity bill. Most solar electric systems last 30 years, and pay for themselves in an average of 4-5 years after tax credits and rebates.3 The savings grow increasingly over time, as rates continue to rise. Take control back from your utility company!

3. Install efficient windows to boost your curb appeal with an average cost recovery of 80%.1

Cost recovery of energy-efficient windows

Replacing those leaky windows with energy-efficient models can help your home maintain a consistent temperature while reducing your heating and air-conditioning bills by a nationwide average of 12%.In California, Energy Star estimates savings of $101-$583 per year for a typical home if you're replacing single pane windows.4

4. Update your kitchen for an average cost recovery of 67%. Increase that by adding energy-efficient upgrades.5

Cost recovery of an energy-efficient kitchen

Pairing your renovated kitchen with energy-efficient upgrades can help raise your return even more. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. According to research provided by ENERGY STAR, a high efficiency refrigerator uses 15% less energy than non-qualified models, and 40% less energy than conventional models sold in 2001.6 New lighting is another great way to save. The average family in the U.S. can save $70 each year7 in energy costs by replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures in your home with ENERGY STAR-qualified models.

5. Remodel your bathroom using energy-efficient products for an average a cost recovery of 58%.8

Cost recovery of an energy-efficient bathroom

Replacing your current water heater, faucets, toilet or radiant heating system can significantly increase your bottom line for the short term and the long term. High-efficiency faucets can reduce a sink's water flow by an average of 30%9 or more, compared to standard faucets, without sacrificing performance. WaterSense efficiency toilets help the average family reduce water consumption due to toilet use by 20 – 60%, saving nearly 13,000 gallons of water every year.10 For some families, this equates to approximately $110 per year—about $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilet.10

You can find more information about any of these projects, as well as ways to affordably finance them by visiting our home-improvements page. Happy saving!

These stats are estimates based on research findings. Actual savings depend on which products are installed, your energy usage, the size and location of your home, and other factors.


1According to data published by the National Association of Realtors in December 2015.
2According to data published by Energy Star
3According to data published by the U.S. Department of Energy.
4Based on nationwide data published by Energy Star:
5Based on data sourced from slide 11 of National Association of Realtor's 2015 publication "Remodeling Impact"
6According to information published by
7According to information published by Energy Star.
8Based on data sourced from slide 15 of National Association of Realtor's 2015 slideshow publication "Remodeling Impact."
9According to information published by WaterSense.
10According to information published by the Environmental Protection Agency.