Whether you are upgrading an existing home or designing a new home to become more energy efficient, it can greatly benefit a homeowner whether it’s for the purpose of selling the house or to improve their quality of living. This is because using different energy-efficient products can make a home more comfortable, durable, greatly maximize its energy utilization, minimize its negative effects on the environment, and help decrease its maintenance costs.

In an existing house, the first step is to conduct a home energy assessment. Sometimes this is referred to as an energy auditto find out how the home uses energy and determine the best ways to cut energy use and costs. This is also a good time to look into a renewable energy system that can provide electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling.

One way to upgrade a home without much hassle and stress, which is also very common and popular right now, is to do a secondary loanThis refers to a home equity loan or home equity line of credit — that is just what it sounds like, another mortgage on a homeowner’s home. Similar to their original mortgage, the second mortgage is secured by their home, meaning that if they don’t pay the loan, the bank can take their home. This is a common risk that is often overlooked.

The solar and green loans are loans under the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) loan included in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs which help homeowners pay for the upfront costs of green initiativessuch as solar panels or other energy-efficient, water-efficient and renewable energy products, which the property owner then pays back by increasing property taxes by a set rate for an agreed upon term ranging from 5–25 years. This allows property owners to begin saving on energy costs while they are paying for their solar panels.  Loans like these are a bit tricky because they do add onto homeowners taxes and increase their monthly payment just a tad bit but when they do go to sell their home. This has a greater chance of detracting more buyers due to having the additional loan that will either need to be assumed or paid off prior to closing.

Going green may not demand a complete remodel of your home. Energy-efficient green roofing and green windows can help dramatically lower your heating and cooling costs. If you live in a dry environment, consider switching over to green landscaping that uses native plants and flowers. Not only will you enhance your curb appeal, but you may significantly lower your water bill as well. We should strive to assist worthy social causes—and helping the environment through green energy initiatives benefits everyone.