Infographic: Energy Efficiency as an Investment

Thanks to Jim Merriam, and his team at Efficiency Vermont, for contributing this great piece comparing ROIs of some common investments with energy efficiency investments.

Jim Merriam

Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont

When the Efficiency Vermont team works with our customers in businesses and homes, we acknowledge that the choice to use energy more wisely is often an investment. Sometimes it is as small as installing a 99 cent CFL bulb. Other projects are more expensive and complex, such as installing a variable frequency drive on a large motor, or working with a contractor to air seal and insulate an entire home. Understandably, the decision to move forward on those types of projects is not always an easy one.

Lately we’ve been thinking about other types of investments that people typically make, and how energy efficiency stacks up in comparison. Below, we consider the classic stock market investment – and, as it turns out, efficiency is the winner. Stay tuned for future posts where we see how efficiency investments play out for other home efficiency projects, and for businesses – with numbers that are even more impressive.

infographic that asks, 'what's the better investment, energy efficiency or the stock market?

The numbers above tell a great story, which I’d like to take a moment to explain.
Investing – rather than spending – your energy dollars. Every time you pay an energy bill, you are dumping your money into the energy market, and putting yourself at the mercy of the fluctuating price of fossil fuels. A comprehensive home efficiency project helps protect you from future increases in the price of energy; with average savings of 30%, it is like getting a 30% discount on all your future energy bills.

Energy efficiency may be invisible – but it has value. It is true that a comprehensive home energy upgrade is not cheap. An average cost of $4,800, even after Efficiency Vermont incentives, is still a large cost. Unlike a stock market investment, that money is not available to be drawn down if needed since it is quite literally an investment in your home. Increasingly, though, potential home buyers are looking for homes that don’t cost a lot to keep warm – and efforts such as home energy labeling promise to help showcase all the value of an investment in home energy efficiency. Plus, as the numbers show, you get more than your money’s worth in energy savings over time.

We all know the price of energy is only going to increase – so why wait to invest in efficiency? Energy efficiency helps you get the most out of your energy dollar, and the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be.

What do you think of our above analysis? Are you ready to move forward on a home energy upgrade? Share your thoughts in the comments below.