Decoding Design

When will those energy upgrades pay for themselves?

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An infographic from One Block Off the Grid charts the time spent and money saved after making energy improvements to your home.

How long will it take to come out even after buying and installing energy upgrades like solar panels or radiant floors? Which improvements are worth the money and your time? An infographic from One Block Off the Grid (OBOG) illustrates the cost of outfitting your home.

For each energy upgrade the chart outlines the initial cost, time for payback, annual savings, and savings over 20 years. The simplest do it yourself improvements, like installing programmable thermostats and high efficiency shower heads, pay for themselves in less than a year while installing solar and geothermal systems take up to ten years to break even but offer the highest return over the long term.

The infographic charts not just complex strategies but also basic steps such as sealing duct leaks (paid back in one and a half years with an initial outlay of $450 and annual savings of $300) and installing insulation (paid back in two and a half years with an initial cost of $750 and annual savings of $300).

The age of flipping houses and trading up by buying new seems to be over, at least in the US. Retrofitting and adding energy saving measures to existing houses are smart and viable financial moves. Depending on the particular upgrade and the time you live in your home, energy improvements for your home can bring a return on investment greater than the average rate of a CD.

Via: OBOG, FastCoDesign

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure