The ROI of Energy Efficiency Upgrades

energy efficiencyAlmost everyone has a handful of option on how to stay comfortable in their home or apartment, whether it’s turning up the thermostat, covering a leaky window, wearing extra layers, or plugging in that space heater.

This idea of “strategizing” to stay warm or cool may seem harmless, but if it’s avoidable, its not from an environmental, going green perspective.  Green Blizzard has compiled a handy list of the ROI of energy efficiency upgrades.


Hot or cold rooms, leaky windows, drafts, weak duct air flow, and hot or insufficient lighting are all energy efficiency problems that can be solved with the right home air-tightening measures.

Home air-tightening measures may not sound as exciting as saving a tropical rainforest, but what if you can be worry-free when extreme weather approaches and stay comfortable in that sunroom, man cave, or the sacred privacy of your own room?  What if you can invest in something that yields a better return than a stock while making your home more comfortable, increasing its value, and protecting the environment all at the same time?


Air-tightening your home is a big relief because it will eliminate the smaller and maybe even some larger concerns that keep on nagging you year after year.  After all, you shouldn’t have to worry when the outdoor temperature is above 80 or below 50 when you’re inside!

The air-tightening improvements listed below may not be earth-shattering, but they sure do work!

I not only list the improvements in order of ascending cost from $20 to $10,000, but also listed the associated return-on-investment in parentheses after the improvement.

The return on investment (ROI) is the percentage of the upfront cost that is returned to you annually through the annual energy savings.  For comparison, a good long-term stock may return between 5-10% per year, but the benefits of going green are greater.

Green Blizzard suggests that you use this as a priority in tackling the opportunities around your home and jump around the list as your budget and abilities to handle dictate.  Green Blizzard’s ROI of energy efficiency upgrades, starting at the least investment required:

  • Caulking around window frames (5%)
  • Installing weather-stripping on door frames (10%)
  • Air duct sealing (8%)
  • Plugging holes on the attic floor with rigid insulation (20%)
  • Upgrading to LED lighting (35%)
  • Blowing loose fill insulation into the attic (8%)
  • Spray-foaming seams, cracks, and holes on the attic floor (10%)
  • Attaching rigid insulation to attic vertical walls and skylights (12%)
  • Attaching batt insulation to the walls (5%)
  • Upgrading to an efficient water heater (5%-20%)
  • Upgrading to an efficient heating or cooling system (5%-30%)

(*) By the way, these numbers come directly from energy modeling software for a typical home scenario:





Be sure to also read:  Gift Ideas For A Green Handyman, What is Phantom Electricity?, Green Cleaning Products, Savvy Green, and Most Bike Friendly Cities.

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About the author

Kenny Frankel

As graduate of the University of Maryland, Kenny has a major in Environmental Politics and Policy, so he's undoubtedly a guy well versed in environmental issues. Now, post college he is a practitioner of sustainable living and employed by solar installation company. We all will have a deeper green perspective after reading his articles because he brings a big picture insight to our everyday purchase decisions and even recycling.  As an early staff writer for Green Blizzard, Kenny covers environmental policy, big-agricultures impact on the environment, solar energy, recycling, and products made from recycled materials.