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Bozeman Real Estate

Earth Day Improvements For Your Home

by Tim Ford  |  Monday Apr. 1st, 2019

Being the month of Earth Day, April is a great time of the year to look at some ways to make a home more energy efficient. This has been an unusually cold winter in Bozeman, and I’m sure many are looking for ways to reduce their heating bill.
A great foundation for improvements is to consider an energy audit from NorthWestern Energy. The audit includes a report that breaks out historical usage by end use, provides recommendations on cost-effective weatherization methods, and offers additional tips. For more info, call 800-823-5995 or check out northwesternenergy.com. These audits are free to NorthWestern Energy customers that meet the qualifications.

The least expensive way to reduce your energy bill is to simply change your habits. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use and setting the thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer can really make a difference. In winter, open window blinds when the sun is out to let in passive heat. When the sun goes down, close the blinds to add insulation. In summer, flip the technique and close the blinds during the day to keep out the heat. Additionally, keeping up on basic maintenance of boilers and furnaces can ensure they’re operating at peak efficiency.

Sealing leaks around walls, windows, & doors with caulk or spray foam insulation and weather stripping can reduce drafts by up to 30%, according to energy.gov. They also state that adding insulation to the attic or crawl space is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce wasted energy use.

When adding insulation to an attic, it’s also worth ensuring there is adequate ventilation. This not only helps keep the home cooler in the summer, but it can also prevent damaging ice dams in the winter.

Programmable thermostats are also a great way to reduce energy when not at home. There are a lot of new smart thermostats that offer some neat options.
Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular way of generating electricity, and there are still tax credits in place. If you’ve thought of solar panels, but are on the fence, keep in mind that the 30% federal tax credit is currently set to lower to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.

The great thing about energy efficient upgrades is that they can have 3 (or more!) benefits by increasing a home’s value, cutting the costs of heating and cooling, and helping out the environment.

As usual, I have included data for the number of homes sold during the first 2 months of 2019. In addition to the 96 homes sold during this time period, another 121 homes are currently pending, or under contract, as of the date of writing this article.

The included data reflects sales of single-family homes in the greater Bozeman area, including Four Corners, Gallatin Gateway, Bridger Canyon, and Bozeman city limits. The data includes home sales reported through the local Big Sky Country MLS, and does not include private party sales, Condominiums, or Townhouses.

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