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The true cost of being energy efficient-is it worth it?

Depending on which research study you use or by which methods of energy efficiency you implement, generally it's agreed that there is an upfront cost and that the high end of that cost is around 5%.

Granted, 5% is nothing to sneeze at as a portion of the total cost of a remodel or new construction. But, if a homeowner plans to be in their home for a long time or if they are simply committed to the environment, the benefits are very real and in some cases immediate.

The best thing about living in a thoughtfully designed, energy efficient house is just how good it feels! It's warm, dry, well-lighted, airy, fresh and it smells good! These are the healthy homes that make sense for us humans.

There are many possible layers or standards by which to create an energy efficient home and the cost of the different layers vary. The good news is that with so many layers, selecting the best ones to meet your budget can still result in a very comfortable, energy efficient home.

In some cases the payback may be immediate but generally, depending on the appropriateness of the feature, the payback shouldn't be too far out. If you've secured a low interest rate mortgage for your project or a refinance, the additional upfront costs may be rolled into that. Also, with the economy being what it is, the government has seen fit to offer some valuable tax credits. It should be noted that energy efficient homes appraise at higher levels than do standard built homes. From the on-set, your utility bills will be reduced and the occupant's comfort level will be exceptionally high. A warm dry home with healthy indoor air quality is a wonderful thing!

In the long run, it would be difficult to regret having invested in the quality and comfort of your life while reducing your impact on the planet.