I frequently receive questions about energy-efficient upgrades and which ones provide the best return. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in solar panels these days, perhaps due to all the Solar marketing around. Solar panels may or may not be a good energy upgrade for your home.
Without seeing an energy audit performed on your home it’s difficult to decide which projects would offer the best return, however there are upgrades which typically provide better return on your investment (ROI) than others, should you decide against an energy audit as your first step. Just understand your upgrade may not yield the expected results if completed in the wrong sequence. For instance you might replace your leaky windows only to find out the first priority should have been more insulation in your attic.
I recently ran across a great article on HGTV that addresses many energy-efficient projects. Outlined are reasons for the upgrades, types of materials that can be selected and the benefits of the upgrades. The five energy upgrade projects addressed are also “graded” on Trend, Effort, Cost and Return on Investment (ROI). The “Effort” category gives you an idea whether the project is best handled by a pro or something that is a DIY project, while the “Trend” category shows the most popular upgrades. Personally I would focus on the ROI category first and the DIY category second.