The Best Energy-Efficient Kitchen Upgrades to Save Electricity and Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Prioritize the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades to save money, help save the planet, and boost your home's resale value. Source: Becca Tapert
In this post, learn the top three reasons why you should consider remodeling your kitchen with energy efficiency in mind. And find out the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades to not only save you money over the long-run, but also increase your home’s resale value.

It’s the lifeblood. The pulse of your home. The control center.

Yep, we’re talking about your kitchen!

It’s no secret that the kitchen is an integral part of a home. For more than just the reason that it’s where the food is kept! The kitchen is the gathering place, the mecca. It’s the spot where your family, friends, colleagues, and more convene to eat, share, and get things done.

But the kitchen is more than just a communal space. It’s an opportunity. An opportunity, that is, to increase the energy efficiency in your home; save yourself some money; and even increase the resale value of your home with a solid return on investment.

That’s right, the kitchen is a triple-threat.

That being said, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we come in. In this post, we’ve laid out the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades to ensure that your control center is a lean, mean, green machine (and one that saves you some big bucks in the long run, too).

The Top 3 Reasons a Kitchen Remodel is Your Best Idea Yet

You may be looking for something aside from the glaringly obvious reason: “umm, because I want to, duh!” And if so, you’re in the perfect place! Updating and upgrading your kitchen is, honestly, a really smart move in more ways than one.

1. Increased Resale Value is No Joke—And Kitchens are the Prime Target

We’re not even going to get cute with you, because this is all business.

Did you know that a complete kitchen renovation was ranked as the second most valuable interior project (ranked by REALTOR) to increase the value of a home for resale? It’s true! And that’s not all. Even if you’re not able to dive head-first into a full remodel, a minor kitchen upgrade ranks just behind (at no. 3) for increasing the value of a home for resale. 

According to a study from the National Association of Realtors, a full kitchen remodel (an entire kitchen renovation) can earn you an ROI of up to 62 percent. Minor kitchen remodels are projected to have about 57 percent ROI. Although HGTV has found that such projects can return up to 93 percent. Those numbers might not seem absolutely astounding. But both complete kitchen renovations and kitchen upgrades are the top two factors that realtors are likely to take into account to value a home for the highest resale. They are also the top projects that buyers value. And in fact, in HGTV’s extensive experience, the only home improvement likely to return more at the time of a home’s resale was a minor kitchen remodel.

2. The Kitchen Presents an Opportunity to Help Save the Planet

You’ve got a reusable silicon straw or two, a solid recycling system in place, cloth towels instead of paper towels, and are in general killing the eco-friendly game in the kitchen. Or so you think. If your kitchen is in need of energy efficient upgrades, you could be inadvertently harming the environment via unnecessary electricity use. Investing in the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades can make an enormous positive impact on your home’s energy use. And those energy savings help our environment.

Each appliance and upgrade will make its own, unique difference. ENERGYSTAR certified appliances can be anywhere from nine to 25 percent more efficient than products meeting the minimum federal efficiency standard. Think of how many appliances are working day-in and day-out in your kitchen! And don’t even get us started on the instantaneous energy savings from swapping out incandescent bulbs for LEDs

3. It’ll Save You Some Serious Cash (In the Long Run)

We know what you’re thinking. “How could it possibly save me money to sink my hard-earned cash into renovations?” 

Answer: because of the long game, friends.

Let’s pretend for a second that you’re in no way interested in upping the resale value of your home. (Seems unlikely, but go with us here). You’re still probably looking for room in that monthly budget—who isnt?! With new appliances and bulbs that require way less energy to function (which means you’ll be using less $ to power them) and sealed windows to help insulate your kitchen and provide ample light (which means less $ to light and heat/ cool your kitchen), you’re putting yourself in a position to save thousands of dollars across these combined investments.

So, sure, if you want to upgrade your kitchen because you feel like it just needs a refresh, no one is going to blame you (we love a good kitchen remodel!). But using these three compelling justifications for a remodel will likely get you further in convincing whoever needs to be convinced to get the green light on your remodel.

3 of the Best Energy-Efficient Kitchen Upgrades To Take Your Kitchen to the Next Level

We’re safely assuming you’re on board with upgrading your kitchen for the reasons we listed. (Just nod and smile and keep reading even if you’re still getting there). Now you’re at a crossroads—where in the world do you possibly start?

We won’t sugarcoat it. The whole “remodeling a kitchen” thing can be super overwhelming. That is why we chose to help you get a jumpstart with three of the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades. They are the perfect starting point. Projects that ensure your kitchen is operating as energy-efficiently as possible and that provide the best return on your investment!

1. Replace Your Refrigerator

Did you know that today’s energy-efficient fridges use anywhere from 40-60 percent less energy than machines made in 2000 or earlier?! If you’re using an old, outdated fridge in your home, you’re definitely sucking up a ton of energy and cash unnecessarily. Don’t believe us? Check out ENERGYSTAR’s Flip Your Fridge Calculator. You can get a sense for the average savings possible based on your general fridge type and approximate age. 

30 years ago, your fridge was likely responsible for up to 16.5 percent of your home’s electricity use. Thanks to technology advances, the average home now directs about five percent of its total energy use to refrigeration. But that could be higher if you are still using an old refrigerator. If you are, an upgrade can not only serve as a beautiful, modern focal point for your upgraded kitchen. But it can also yield big savings on your utility bill.

Looking for more #truths about energy-efficient refrigerators? We’ve got a whole post on energy-efficient refrigeration to help understand how it can make all the difference.

Replacing your refrigerator is one of the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades to prioritize because it could yield triple-digit savings every year on your electricity bill. Source: Joseph Ngabo
Replacing your refrigerator gets our vote for one of the best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades to prioritize because it could yield triple-digit savings every year on your electricity bill. Source: Joseph Ngabo

2. Upgrade the Dishwasher

Your kitchen appliances account for about 12 percent of your energy bill. So it only makes sense that switching out your old, dated dishwasher can make an enormous difference, right? We think so. 

When you switch to an energy-efficient dishwasher, you save an average of 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime. That’s the same water as 240 average American showers! And if you don’t have a dishwasher right now, you could save even more water and money over the long-run by investing in one? With an operational cost of about $35 per year, you’ll save significant money (we’re talking over $1k) and time and water as compared to hand-washing of your dishwasher’s lifetime!

To get started on your new dishwasher search, check out our recent post featuring the best energy-efficient dishwashers!

3. Switch to LED Lighting

Lighting is responsible for about five percent of the average home’s electricity consumption in the United States. That’s pretty substantial for such a tiny item, especially when it could easily be so much less thanks to LED technology.

Even though it’s the most efficient bulb type, about 71 percent of homes didn’t have LEDs in them as of just a couple years ago. That number is changing, but it’s up to each of us to drive that change by switching to LEDs today.

The average home could save almost $20 per month by replacing its incandescents with LEDs. Start in the kitchen!

To learn more about the best energy-efficient lighting to add to your kitchen? Check out our post on the best energy-efficient lighting here to enlighten yourself (come on, you know you want to laugh). 

The Perfect Recipe for Energy Savings in The Kitchen 

The best energy-efficient kitchen upgrades will set you up to save money and help save the environment—win, win! Ready to get going on your kitchen renovation, upgrade, or remodel? We’ve got all kinds of additional resources that can help.

Feeling inspired to find additional kitchen-related upgrades and appliances that can make a huge impact on how you use electricity in the most-used room of your house? Check out a few of our other go-to guides:

Looking for more energy efficiency insights, tips, and tricks of the trade? Keep up with us on social media (you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn!).  And don’t forget to subscribe to the WattDoesItUse blog for energy saving strategies straight to your inbox on the first of every month!

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