As we see the stock market spiral downwards while investors pick their jaws off the floor and rush to safer securities, we have an investment suggestion of our own. Home energy efficiency retrofits can be a safe place to house money (literally) for investors who demand increasing dividends over the life of their investment. The rate of returns for building efficiency has been well-known to many large businesses, but an efficiency retrofit can be a sound investment for any home owner as well. Read on as we take a quick look at the potential returns and the long-term benefits of a low-cost and comfortable home as a sound and safe financial decision.

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The cost of home energy has risen an average of 6.33% each year according to the US Department of Commerce, meaning that the average monthly home energy bill will conservatively double in twelve years. In fact, energy costs have consistently outpaced projections historically. This makes your house a financial liability as it progressively becomes more expensive to live in. However energy efficiency can been seen as a financial vehicle that can make a homeowner money on day one. If a $5,000 insulation job saves $25 each month, we are looking at a respectable 5% rate of return over 20 years — which is pretty good in today’s economic climate – and that’s based upon the current cost of energy.

Every house is different, but a home energy audit often finds even relatively simple upgrades that can save real money, since these investments pay back by reducing the compounded cost of energy well into the future. The rate of return is not only in energy savings over capital cost, but in improved home valuation. The money really adds up when you make even larger investment into your home’s energy security. A deep envelope and equipment retrofit can reduce energy cost up to 60%. Even better, many rebates are available for the work, meaning that the government wants to give you money to help you save money. When your home’s efficiency has reached its limit in returns, solar electricity and hot water starts to look very attractive.

Two sometimes overlooked benefits of an energy retrofit are the jump in comfort and the improvement in the durability of the home — often important investments in their own right. Now that real estate listings have HERS scores, the home’s marketability is improved as the property valuation increases. Like any quality investment, the payoff is over years, not at the mercy of the Stock Market’s whims. If you plan to retire in your home, the investment in energy efficiency is as good as it gets.

Since every case is unique, it may make sense to see if an investment in your home’s energy efficiency fits into your long-term portfolio.