Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mint Hill Resident: Going Green, Saving Some Green

Dear Rich,

We are about to move into our dream home in Mint Hill. It is a beautiful colonial with a big yard and lots of upgrades.

My question is that our new house is a couple years old and I would like to go through and do some energy-efficient upgrades in it. I definitely think that it is worth the investment. Can you recommend anything that I can do to my home or property to both increase the value but also become a little “greener”?

Tyler, Mint Hill, NC

Dear Tyler,

Thanks for the question - and welcome to beautiful Mint Hill!

It is always smart to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, fixtures, etc. when you can. But I have heard from many people like you in the Charlotte area in the last few months who are looking at green ideas as well as ways to save some money. And I do have a few suggestions:

First, look for rebates and incentives. Your utility companies may post information on their websites or in the monthly bills. Be sure to check these as well as investigate federal tax credits. Look at the Tax Incentives Assistance Project, to see what criteria must be met before you decide to go shopping.

Then, consider your budget. It will cost you around $500 to replace your old clothes washer with an Energy-Star certified Frigidaire washer (this includes a $50 utility-provided rebate and about a $50 in energy savings the first year). Energy-efficiency projects such as installing new Energy-Star windows or replacing a high-efficiency boiler are more expensive, but are really the few upgrades that hold their value in a down real estate market. These improvements will cut your energy bills, (and also be more attractive to home buyers in the future).

Remember to save before and after utility bills and records of purchase of any energy-efficient improvements to show the savings and value when and if you ever decide to sell your new Mint Hill home.

Best personal regards,

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