It’s safe to say that most of us live in areas where we’d love to be able to contain our energy costs in some fashion. If you live in cold climates, you have to deal with high energy bills in the winter. If you live in warm climates, you have to deal with high energy bills in the summer and sometimes in the winter in trying to stay cool.

The big move these days is towards finding more energy efficient, or “green”, ways of living. Some people will make moves such as direct water heating, where instead of having a hot water heater they have some kind of apparatus installed at points where they can get water that heats the water only when needed. Others hope to go even further, such as adding solar panels or other alternatives of capturing “free” energy to their home.

Yet, this isn’t widespread, and we all initially know the reason why. It’s expensive to upgrade your home for this kind of energy efficiency. I checked into it a few years ago, and learned that it would cost nearly $38,000 to add solar paneling, batteries, etc, to my home. That’s a third of what my house is worth, so obviously it’s pretty steep in my mind. Based on my current heating bills, even with the increase in oil prices, it would take about 9 years to recover the costs of something like that, even with a state rebate.

Here’s the other problem. It turns out that adding something like that to your home doesn’t increase the value of your home. According to CNN Money, when appraisals are done, they don’t take into consideration any green initiatives you’ve added to your home. This means a $100,000 home whose only upgrades are to green alternatives will still only be worth $100,000, or whatever the market price for the home is at that time.

Sure, environmentalists would love if all of us decided not to worry about price and just did the right thing but that’s not economically feasible across the board. Even adding used solar panels and batteries, which can cost upwards of 50% or more less than new, is still an expensive proposition, especially when compared to modernizing your kitchen, something that definitely adds value to your home.

This just proves that it’s not as easy a decision as one would hope it might be in deciding whether or not to add certain energy efficient initiatives to a home.

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