So then why, when asked to rank desired home improvement projects, do homeowners consistently prioritize a kitchen or bathroom remodel as number one on their list? Fifty-five percent of survey respondents were likely (with 19% of those saying “very likely”) to undergo such aesthetically focused (ie non-energy efficiency) improvements in the near future.
On the upside: window replacement and HVAC/furnace replacement came in second and third, respectively, in terms of priority. But still, what gives? Why are homeowners saying one thing and doing another?
Two reasons, apparently.
First is income. Reports indicate that higher income homeowners were less likely to prioritize energy efficiency, which makes sense. It’s harder to pay your electric and gas bills when you don’t have as much money.
Second is expense. Almost half of survey respondents said energy efficiency improvements are “too expensive.” Which makes you wonder what improvements they’re thinking of, and if they’re talking about upfront out of pockets costs or the payback period.
This seems paradoxical, and another case of homeowners saying one thing and doing another. Comparing apples to apples, the average professional insulation upgrade could cost anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to roughly a thousand or two thousand bucks. The average kitchen remodel? $28,000…
So do homeowners prioritize energy efficiency high on their to-do list until they find out how “expensive” it is and say “Forget lower heating bills, if I’m gonna spend that much I might as well spend it on a pretty kitchen?” Or do they figure that energy efficiency won’t help resale value whereas kitchens and bathrooms do? Perhaps personal taste trumps function; a furnace is a furnace but kitchens, as highly personal as they are, can be make-or-break propositions.
Seems there are no easy answers.
What do YOU think? Leave us a comment and let us know!