Seven Green Updates for Your Home
That Give You the Biggest Bang for Your Buck



See more articles
Fastest Payoff Header

Making upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of your home can translate into big savings down the road. We found out which home upgrades actually payoff the fastest (and the most) in terms of money saved.

  1. Few home improvements pay back as quickly as an Energy Star qualified programmable thermostat. By adjusting temperature controls based on when you are not at home or when you are sleeping, you could shave $120 a year off heating and cooling costs1. Programmable thermostats retail for as low as $40, so you'll recoup the initial cost in as little as five or six months to just over a year.
  2. Energy Star qualified CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) may cost more money to purchase than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they typically pay back their initial purchase price in about six months - and sometimes faster, depending on your usage, than incandescents2. That's because they use about 75% less energy, and last up to 10x longer.
  3. Water heaters today are highly energy efficient, but if you have an older model, you'll save cash by wrapping an insulating blanket around it. The blanket can reduce heat loss by 25% to 40% — leading to a 4% to 9% savings on your water bills. Most insulation blankets (which can cost around $30+) save enough energy to pay for themselves in about a year3.
  4. Believe it or not, a front loading washing machine can pay for itself in as little as 3.5 years4. (Again, look for a model with the Energy Star symbol, which means the products are among the most energy efficient available.) That's because it will save you about $170 a year, by using 40% less water and about 50% less electricity. And because you can usually fit about 30% more clothes in a front load washer, you can run fewer loads. The savings can add up quickly, when you consider the average Energy Star appliance lasts 10 to 20 years!5
  5. Time to replace those old, 18-litre toilets that waste water? An ultra-low volume, six-litre flush model can cut your indoor water consumption by about 30%6. With those kind of savings, depending on the model you purchase (low-flow toilets vary in price from $150 to $400), you'll have that shiny new toilet paid off in three to six years. Since toilets can last 20 years, you'll not only save lots of water, but lots of dollars, too7.
  6. Did you know that just by adding extra insulation in your walls and attics, you could save over 30% on your energy bills? That means if your average energy bill is $2,000 a year, you could save $600! An insulation package costs about $3,000, but with the money saved, you'll still have the investment paid off in about five years8. Insulation is a particularly good investment, because it will last the lifetime of your home.
  7. A high-efficiency, Energy Star-certified furnace may not give you the fastest pay off, but over its 15-year-plus lifespan, it will deliver one of the biggest. A high-efficiency furnace can save 25% on your home heating costs every year — or about $300 a year versus an old one9 — with most homeowners recouping their initial expense in about seven years10. After that, those monthly savings go right into your pocket.

Also, be sure to apply for the various federal, provincial and municipal grants you may be entitled to for home energy retrofits and upgrades. By doing so, you'll pay off your investments that much faster — which means more money in your pocket sooner!

 

Big Bang for Your Buck

 

Item Cost Payback Time Average savings
Energy Star Programmable Thermostat $40+ 5 mos. – 1 year $1,200 over 10 years
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb $5 6 mos. $500 over 5 years
Insulation Blanket $30 1 year $150 over 5 years
Energy Star Front Load Washing Machine $600-$1,200 3.5 years $1,700-$3,400 over 10-20 years
Low Volume Toilet $150-$400 3-6 years $500-$2,600 over 20 years
Insulation $3,000 5 years $12,000 over 20 years
Energy Star Furnace $2,000-$4,000 7-13 years $6,000 over 20 years

1. From http://www.edmonton.ca/environmental/documents/GeneralBrochure-2009-06.pdf
2. From http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/business/ready-articles/energy-wise.cfm?attr=12
3. From http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:smZh4ZzFze4J:conservens.ca/resources/publications/Hot-Water-Answers.pdf+water+insulation+blanket+%22pay+for+itself%22+canada&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgTSJro3Wa49fc-Vr_rDq8o5IFfBqfAMD-FviYthDs9hz5CjyjbWk-_pYgYMNexTOfzkQF8sHQAHCFFREPhz3C8pTaQ8EhIWDQatbTBeup1EIg_QzXLsD6WGbcq3wPhzRBHTRfc&sig=AFQjCNE-YVmkGRD4OG-Dg8jE_V_Z8mfMRA
4. From http://www.shscorp.ca/content.aspx?file=services/shsctips_watersaving.html
5. From http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:E-69ZKFpgvkJ:www.bchydro.com/etc/medialib/internet/documents/Power_Smart_FACT_sheets/FACTS_Energy_Star_Appliances.Par.0001.File.energy_star_appliances.pdf+Energy-Star+appliances+last+%2220+years%22+Canada&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca
6. From http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/new-homes/water-conservation.cfm?attr=4#bathroom
7. From http://www.strathcona.ab.ca/Strathcona/Departments/Utilities/Water/Water+conservation/Indoor+conservation/Ultra+Low+Flush+Toilets.htm
8. From http://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/environment/green-energy.asp#T6
9. From http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/gas-furnace/index.cfm?attr=4
10. From http://www.ecoaction.gc.ca/news-nouvelles/20070121-3-eng.cfm

My Planet™ Rewards

Get Money Back