I recently spent big bucks to install whole house solar at my home. At the time, I went on air making fun of myself talking about how it may not ever pay off for years and years. In addition, I was speculating that buyers don't really value energy-saving stuff like putting in solar panels. But it turns out I was wrong.

Study: Green improvements make you more green at resale

If you want to raise the value of your home, you might consider making any of several green improvements like putting in adequate insulation, installing a highly efficient HVAC system, high performance windows and doors and so on.

A joint study undertaken by the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment and the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation has put some numbers to this stuff. They examined sales of home from February 2013 and June 2015 and found that those with energy upgrades sold for between $10,343 to $53,000 more than non-energy upgraded homes in the control group.

Premiums on some "green" houses ranged from 6% to 7.7%, according to the findings published in the Washington Post. So what's the most single lucrative energy upgrade you can make? Read on...


Consider doing whole house solar

A few years back, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted an eight-year study of home resale values where whole house solar was involved. The study found the typical home with whole house solar sells for $17,000 more than a home that doesn't have it. That can recoup virtually all, if not all, of the cost for installing solar.

Think about it: You install solar, you get a federal tax credit, a possible state tax credit and bam! A buyer realizing the wisdom of what you did will pay you more to cover the savings you didn't get if you don't live in the house long enough to get return on investment. Or maybe you live long enough to recoup your initial investment and you then make a tidy profit.

Why do I always talk about money when I talk about energy efficiency? It's my belief that most homeowners want to know the decision to be energy conscious requires you to see a real return on investment and a dollars and cents value. To my surprise, it looks like solar may now meets that test!

Read more: 3 winter hacks to stay warm and save some money

UCLA study confirms findings

Homeowners who have "green" homes can command 9% more in offers when it's time to resell, according to a study out of UCLA. The Los Angeles Times reports the study looked at sales of more than 1 million homes in California between 2007 and 2012 to determine the finding. Researchers also noted that "green" homes tended to fetch more from buyers in zip codes where there was a heavy preponderance of hybrid car registrations, something they're calling "the Prius effect."

Want more money-saving info for your home? See our Homes & Real Estate section.


Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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