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5 Building Retrofits That Can Save You Money

5 Building Retrofits That Can Save You Money

Green Retrofits Can Help Save You Money

If you’re looking to cut the costs of property ownership, start with your utility bills. Green building retrofits can make your property more eco-friendly while reducing your monthly expenses, and many retrofits provide an immediate return on investment.   

So, what is retrofitting a building? 

Generally, the retrofitting of buildings refers to modifications that decrease energy demand or improve energy efficiency. Those modifications may be permanent or temporary, and typically you can perform retrofitting while your property is occupied. Below, we’ll explain some of the best money-saving options for retrofits—and provide some advice for maximizing the benefits. 

BlocPower helps property owners save money by upgrading to energy-efficient heating and cooling. To get started, answer a few quick questions about your building.

The Top Building Retrofits For Improving Energy Efficiency (and Reducing Energy Bills)

1. Air Source Heat Pumps 

Heat pumps (sometimes known as mini splits) reduce one of the most significant expenses of building ownership: Heating and cooling. According to the Energy Information Administration, space heating and air conditioning make up 51% of the average U.S. household’s annual energy consumption. 

Air source heat pumps provide both heating and cooling without burning fossil fuels. They work by passing ambient air across a set of coils to move heat energy in or out of a room, and they provide residents with more control over their spaces (for a more detailed explanation, read: What Is An Air Source Heat Pump? Your Go-To Guide for 2022). 

Most importantly, heat pump technology is extremely efficient. BlocPower customers report annual savings of 20-40%, and one study found that in cold climates, heat pumps saved single-residence homeowners an average of $948 per year when compared to electric resistance heaters.

Like many major energy-efficient retrofits, heat pumps can be expensive to install. However, federal, state, and municipal energy programs can reduce the cost, and BlocPower offers financing options that allow property owners to realize immediate savings with no money down for installation.

2. Smart Home Technology

When retrofitting buildings for sustainability, energy efficiency is crucial—but decreasing your energy consumption can also yield results. Consider using programmable “smart" thermostats, sprinkler systems, window shades, and electrical outlets to prevent energy waste. However, you’ll need to make sure that your smart devices will eventually recoup their costs. That’s especially important if you’re retrofitting your principal residence.

“Retrofitting a home with smart tech can cost anywhere between $20 and $20,000, depending on how many features you’d like your home to have,”says Adam Graham, a construction industry analyst at home remodeling resource Fixr. “In order to save money, the return on investment will need to outweigh the expense.”

Look for smart products that have earned the ENERGY STAR logo, which verifies energy efficiency through an independent certification process.

3. Cool Roofing

“Cool" roofs reflect more sunlight than traditional roofing materials, which can reduce rooftop temperatures by 50–60°F during peak summer weather. Property owners can cut the cost of air conditioning expenses by installing ENERGY STAR-certified shingles or reflective coatings. 

Cool roofing materials carry substantial installation costs, but the savings add up quickly: One California study found that cool roofs yield an average annual net savings of nearly 50 cents per square foot. In colder climates, the savings are less significant—but since cool roofs typically last much longer than traditional roofs, they’re a worthwhile investment.

4. Solar Panels 

Solar energy helps to reduce a property’s carbon footprint, but generating solar power can be expensive. According to a report from Forbes, installation costs about $16,000 on average for residential properties. As with heat pumps, incentives can bring down the costs, and BlocPower has worked with other energy efficiency organizations to keep solar projects affordable.

Community solar projects allow property owners to take advantage of clean energy without making a major commitment. For example, New York’s Solar Program (NY-Sun) provides subscribers with solar energy credits, which reduce their electric bills.

Moreover, solar works incredibly well in partnership with heat pumps. Several recent studies have highlighted that homeowners can profitably install solar plus heat pumps, and together they represent the clearest pathway to a zero emissions home (and a $0 energy bill). 

Solar installations in many markets have short payback periods. Building owners can also consider a power purchase agreement or similar model to complete installation with no out of pocket cost.

5. Energy-Efficient Insulation

Your property’s insulation directly affects its carbon footprint and your annual cost of ownership. To prevent energy waste, make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed and caulked. 

Install insulation in walls, attics, floors, and basements, choosing materials with a high R-value. (R-value measures the material’s ability to keep heat from leaving or entering.)  According to the Department of Energy, building owners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by adding insulation and air-sealing their properties.

Professional energy assessments (also called energy audits) can provide you with room-by-room recommendations. By analyzing your building’s energy use, an auditor can help you decide whether to prioritize certain types of upgrades. 

Start saving with eco-friendly heating and cooling. 

If you’re considering a building retrofit, energy efficiency is critically important—and an air source heat pump system can deliver immediate savings. BlocPower helps property owners find affordable financing options for air source heat pumps, and our experts are ready to create a plan for your building. 

Ready to get started? Find out how BlocPower can help you with retrofitting your home.