There’s nothing quite as comforting as staying in a warm, cozy home all day while it’s pouring rain outside. And that same house can serve as a cool slice of paradise on a sweltering summer afternoon. Yes, our homes are highly adaptable, and if you’ve gone through the process of making your’s energy efficient, keeping the indoor climate in that sweet spot year round isn’t putting much of a tax on your wallet or the environment.

But here’s another reason to consider an energy efficiency upgrade for your next project: homes outfitted with green upgrades are selling for an average of 9 percent more than less energy efficient listings, according to the major study “The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market.” With the California Association of Realtors reporting the median home price in 2018 coming in at about $638,660 in San Luis Obispo County, making sure that house has its energy efficiency ducks in a row could mean an extra $57,479. And with the average full home upgrade coming in at $20,000, it literally pays to go green.

Here are some of the top projects that might help raise property values and make it a joy to walk into your home year round.

Heating Systems: Out of sight, out of mind. We’re not often looking at our furnace, making it easy to ignore. So easy that it’s common to find original units from when homes were built in the 1960s-‘80s still installed. Considering these units should be replaced every 15 years and the advancements that have been made in this technology, it’s time.

Duct Work: Did you replace that ancient, grumbling furnace? Great! Did your contractor simply plug it back into your old duct work? Uh oh. This network of mostly unseen tubes delivers the heat and cool air into your home, but it can be wasting hundreds of dollars a year if it’s filled with gaps.

Windows: Unlike heating systems and duct work, a beautiful new set of windows will bring some real curb appeal to a remodel. But the main energy efficiency benefit from windows comes from ensuring they are built air tight. But before you go blowing too much of your budget on windows, keep in mind that these won’t insulate nearly as much as attic or other types of insulation.  

Water Heaters: With heating water accounting for a home’s second largest utility expense, investing in an energy efficient model is just plain smart. While water heaters tend to last between 10-12 years, it’s important to know the tank will likely be the first part to break, leading to catastrophic flood damage. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, contractors were installing water heaters in the center of homes, where a broken tank would end up doing the most damage. If you’re upgrading your water heater, it’s also a good idea to look into moving it out into the garage, away from the house.