As the owner of rental property in the Treasure Valley, you want to get the most out of your investment, maximizing your returns while providing a quality, competitive property for your renters. You may be asking yourself if energy investments are cost effective for an Idaho rental. Would solar panels save money in the long run? What other energy improvements can you make for a greener, cleaner property that is more attractive to renters?
Investing in energy efficiency can be a simple, responsible way to save money for you and your renters and reduce the demand on the environment, but not all investments make sense for a Treasure Valley property. From solar panels to Energy Star appliances, we find out what works.
Solar Panels: Cost effective?
Solar panels may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think energy efficiency, but you may not have worked out a cost-benefit analysis. Investing in solar panels is expensive, and the returns? Slim to none, if you get to that point.
In Idaho, the average 6kW solar panel system starts at around $12,000. That’s after the federal Investment Tax Credit kicks in, returning 30% of the cost of the energy investment in a tax refund. An individual solar panel would cost roughly $250 plus installation, with an output of 150W-350W, according to EnergySage. For reference, that may be enough to power your home computer, but not enough to keep your refrigerator running. The average Idaho household uses about 1,055kWh per month, meaning the size of the solar panel system required to convert to sustainable energy would still result in a net loss of about $2,000 even after 20 years.
In short, the cost of solar panels for an Idaho property would not save you money in the long run. In Boise, the cost of electricity is 28.03% less than the national average, according to Electricity Local, making a large upfront investment for solar panels cost ineffective even long-term. Installing solar panels on a Treasure Valley home should come from a dedication to renewable energy, as you cannot expect to see real returns in a realistic time-frame.
Other ways to invest in energy efficiency
For more cost-effective ways to reduce energy consumption, consider looking into Energy Star certified appliances and other efficient home repairs.
Energy Star is a product certification program in partnership with government offices like the Environmental Protection Agency to verify and market products that effectively reduce energy consumption. From air purifiers to water heaters, the Energy Star label on an item means it will save you and your renters money when it comes to utility costs. Find appliances that functionally use as little power and resources as possible to keep your property green and inexpensive. An Energy Star dishwasher, for example, costs only about $35 a year to run and saves an estimated 3,870 gallons of water on average during its lifetime.
You can further cut costs and conserve energy by making a few simple home repairs and modifications. Start with replacing or resealing all old doors and windows to keep heating or air conditioning from leaking outside the home. Then, ensure your furnace and water heater are in good condition by having them properly maintained and inspected by a professional technician. Finally, replace all light bulbs with long lasting, energy efficient LED models. These are cheap, easy ways to invest in an energy efficient property that will save you and your tenants money.
Energy efficient investments are a great way to increase property value while doing your part to reduce environmental impact. Though solar panels might not make financial sense for a Treasure Valley property, you can always find other ways to reduce energy and save money. As a property owner or tenant, what have you found to be the most effective ways of keeping utility bills low? Do you have other tips for effectively investing in energy efficiency? Find 208.properties on social media and share your thoughts, comments, and experiences. We can’t wait to hear from you.