Heal the Planet (And Help Your Wallet) With These 6 High-ROI Home Improvements 

There is some good news in the battle against climate catastrophe — many of the changes that support Mother Earth also put more green in your wallet. The right high-ROI home improvements enhance your living space, add value to your investment and lower your utility bills and carbon footprint simultaneously.
Which ones you choose to tackle depend on your needs, budget and DIY savvy. Here are six ways you can heal the planet and help your wallet through home improvements.
1. Painting 
While painting may not seem to affect your carbon footprint all that much, it has an impact. Lighter-colored paints reflect the sun’s rays instead of trapping heat, reducing air conditioning needs in warm climates. This rule applies to your exterior color choices and also your interior, especially in rooms with sliding glass doors or large picture windows.
Best of all, painting is one of the lowest-cost home improvements you can tackle that still nets an impressive 107% ROI. Start with a single room, honing your skills before moving on to more advanced projects. Exterior painting may require a contractor, although those with single-story homes might tackle the task with the right paint sprayer. Always wear a hard hat and have a second person when performing ladder work and call in a pro if you require scaffolding.
2. Adding Insulation
Here’s another relatively inexpensive high-ROI improvement that helps the planet, especially if your home has an uninsulated garage, basement, crawl space or attic. Such locations bleed energy. Fortunately, you can usually DIY such installations with the right protective gear.
Installing insulation in interior walls is trickier. You may need to drill holes to blow it in, maneuvering around electrical boxes and plumbing lines. Call a professional if unsure. A well-insulated home saves up to 15% on your utility bills and also makes your home quieter — a good selling point.
3. Upgrading Windows And Doors 
Another common point of energy bleeding in homes is your windows and doors. An easy way to insulate your garage is to upgrade the door — you can often recoup up to 85% of the initial investment cost when you sell.
Drafty windows may need replacement or simply a little caulk. However, upgrading from single pane to newer, dual-pane models can save 24% on energy costs in winter and 18% in summer. Entry doors often need little more than fresh weatherstripping to keep out drafts, although upgrading to steel increases security while providing superior insulation compared to wood.
4. Enhancing Your Outdoor Living Space 
Blinds aren’t the only way to prevent the sun from turning the room adjacent to your south-facing picture window into a furnace in August. A strategically planted row of cypress or similar tall hedge-like trees enhances your privacy while dimming the rays and reducing AC needs. Likewise, they can serve as a windbreak if the chill typically blows in from the same direction.
Gardens beautify your outdoor living space and provide a use for all that compost created from your food scraps. Additionally, rain gardens can keep water out of your basement, saving you oodles of money on cleanup supplies that may increase your carbon footprint. If you want to go even further in greening your home, consider a rainwater collection system that you can use on your landscaping, directing it where you want it instead of letting it wash away.
5. Upgrading Your Lighting 
Upgrading your lighting can be as simple as replacing old bulbs with better models. If you have 40 bulbs in your home, today’s LEDs can save you nearly $750 a year.
However, why stop there? Today’s LED light strips let you add illumination under cabinets without running extensive wiring. Highlight your entertainment center and opt for color-changing strips to create a mood. Doing so makes a striking impression during home showings.
6. Converting To Solar 
This upgrade provides the best ROI if you intend to stay in your home for the next few years. According to Jamie Haenggi, President of ADT Solar, most solar systems pay for themselves in six to 12 years. Additionally, home buyers are willing to pay up to $15,000 more for a home equipped with this upgrade.
Congress recently extended the solar tax credits as well. Think strategically, run the numbers and consider kicking your electric bill (mostly) to the curb while minimizing your home’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Sustainable, High-ROI Home Improvements 
Making the right home improvements increases your return on investment by adding value to your property. They also enhance your enjoyment while you live there and keep more green in your wallet.
Best of all, many of these improvements are DIY, saving you on labor. All it takes is a bit of savvy, a little of your time and a small initial investment to make a big difference in your residence — and your planetary home.

Author Bio
Oscar Collins is the editor-in-chief at Modded, where he writes about health and fitness. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for regular updates on his work, and subscribe to Modded Minute for more!

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