If you’re thinking about selling your home, one of the biggest things on your mind is probably how you can increase its property value. There are many ways you can do that. For example, some people focus on painting it a new color or making various repairs and renovations throughout the house. And while these are all good–and often necessary–tasks to do before putting your home on the market, they may not be the most cost-effective solutions for increasing its value and making it more attractive to potential buyers. So, what would be? Improving its energy efficiency.

The green energy industry is booming. More businesses, government agencies and individuals are starting to realize the wide range of short and long-term benefits that sustainable and renewable sources of energy offer. Some of them include lower operational costs, reduced electricity rates and monthly bills, tax incentives and a healthier and more comfortable home.

“Energy upgrades can lead to short and long-term benefits, including increasing your home’s value.”

However, using this strategy for improving the resale value of a home hasn’t exactly been widely adopted – yet. As Shira Springer pointed out in an article for The Boston Globe, part of the reason for this could be that it can sometimes be difficult to quantify the return on investments. Savings depend on a multitude of factors and vary on a case-by-case basis. Also, compared to other home improvement projects, such as remodeling a bathroom or putting an addition on the house, energy-efficient solutions are not immediately visible. Craig Webb, editor in chief of Remodeling magazine, explained to the source that, “the value does not consist solely of curb appeal in the eye of the next buyer or solely in terms of energy savings.”

Research on how energy can improve resale value

However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough research and data to demonstrate the powerful effects energy efficiency projects can have. Springer reported that a few years ago, RE/MAX Leading Edge Chief of Energy Solutions Craig Foley conducted a study of more than 4,500 homes throughout the Greater Boston area, looking at how lower energy costs influence buyers. He explained that his findings, “reinforced a number of studies nationally that said for every $1 of annual energy savings, it equates to $15 to $20 at the time of sale.”

Springer also references a handful of other previously conducted research studies, which revealed the following:

  • Solar energy installations can increase the value of a home by roughly $3 per watt. A standard system of about 6,000 watts could lead to an $18,000 increase in value.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, California homes that had either Energy Star, LEED or Green Point labels typically sold for about 9 percent more than those without.
  • Home properties that were listed as being energy-efficient saw a nearly 6 percent increase in price over similar properties.

Once you decide to increase the sustainability of your home, though, there is still the question of how to go about it.

Getting started: Energy upgrade projects, strategies and tips

There is certainly no shortage of solutions you can employ to increase the energy efficiency of your home. And the ones that are best suited for you will depend on your budget, time frame, etc. But there are plenty of small changes you can make that will still have a big impact, such as:

  • Replacing HVAC systems and other appliances (making sure they have a good Energy Efficiency Ratio or Energy Star rating)
  • Insulating and sealing ducts, attics and windows, etc.
  • Installing a programmable thermostat
  • Switching to LED lightning

To make the most out of your energy efficiency projects, it is important that you understand where the biggest opportunities to improve its value are. How? Trulia recommended that homeowners who are interested in getting their property as market-ready as possible should conduct a home energy audit. Doing so will allow you to figure out where the most energy is being used throughout the home and where there is room for improvement. The online real estate site also suggested that you make sure this is done by a trusted, reputable and reliable residential energy provider in your area.