Save Green by Going Green

Michelle McCann
By Michelle McCann

Home Improvements that Offer the Best Return on Investment

Among the eco-friendly renovations that both lower your utility bills and increase the value of your home are installing skylights and replacing windows, garage doors, water heaters, and grass.

Are you considering making green home improvements and wondering which ones will really pay off? Some eco-friendly renovations not only reduce your carbon footprint but also lower your utility bills and increase the value of your home. Consider these five green home options with the best return on investment.

Upgrade your windows
Old, drafty windows can lose a considerable amount of warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer, wasting energy and costing you money. Upgrading your windows to air-tight, low-emissivity models can result in substantial savings on your heating and cooling bills. Not only will you save on unnecessary utility expenses but also your return on investment (ROI) at the time of resale likely will be sizable. Remodeling magazine reports that vinyl replacement windows have a 74 percent ROI. Overall, replacement windows are worth the money you’ll spend on them.
Turn your garage door green
While looking for ways to make your house green, don’t overlook your garage door! Yes, eco-friendly garage doors are a thing and can save you money every month on utility costs. Replacing an older garage door with a new, energy-efficient model can reduce energy loss. A well-insulated garage door can decrease the amount of cold or hot air let into your home from common walls. In addition, an upgraded, environmentally friendly garage door adds curb appeal and has a 91.5 percent ROI according to
Install skylights
According to, artificial lighting accounts for 40 percent of your home’s energy use. The natural light that installing skylights brings, especially in rooms without windows, can dramatically reduce your electricity costs. And when you install skylights, consider choosing ones that open. They can help to ventilate your home during summer months, thereby enabling you to save money on air conditioning costs. says installing an EnergyStar-qualified skylight can trim a home energy bill by 7 to 15 percent. Skylights also make a home more appealing to potential buyers, especially to green buyers who want a home that is bathed in natural light.
Swap out your water heater
How can you make sure that your hot water is as green as possible when you turn on the faucet? Turn your attention to your water heater. According to, water heating is thesecond largest expense in your home, accounting for 14 to 18 percent of your utility bill, and a tankless water heater is 8 to 34 percent more energy efficient than a storage water heater. Energy-efficient, tankless water heaters will likely cost more up front but will save you money over time. Also, you’ll get a better ROI in the long run because tankless water heaters can last twice as long as storage water heaters.
Replace your grass for cash
Replacing water-thirsty green grass with alternative lawns and drought-tolerant landscape materials can reduce your home’s water use significantly. Common landscaping that requires frequent watering is anything but green and can have a negative effect on your wallet. Eco-friendly lawn options conserve water by replacing your grass with native plans that use less water or with the almost-effortless alternative of artificial turf. reports that turf removal will save 44 gallons of water per square foot per year, which translates into more money for you. says spending as little as 5 percent of your home’s value on landscaping may result in an ROI of much as 150 percent.