When it comes to purchasing a home, one of the first things most buyers look into is the home’s energy efficiency. Rising utility rates and weather trends often make this an important factor when trying to find the right place to settle. Not only is efficiency important when a house goes on the market, it is also one of the top improvements homeowners seek when wanting to add value to their home. That’s because energy efficiency not only pays off in the long run, many states are also raising the stakes on how energy is produced.

California is one of these states, setting a high standard for the future of green energy. The Title 24 mandate requires all new homes to run on solar power. It’s not the first time the state has enforced new energy requirements to reduce strain on the electrical grid. In an effort to prepare for extreme weather conditions like the recent heatwave that has residents demanding more energy, many methods have been adopted including the state’s notorious public safety power shutoffs. While these mandatory power outages do help, there is more that can be done.

California isn’t the only state leading the way towards building in energy requirements to harvest a more sustainable future. Northern states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont have scored high with the American Council of Energy-Efficient Economy for their continuous focus on improving energy codes.

Beyond local utility-related efforts, there are multiple ways homeowners can help by improving their own home’s energy efficiency.

Replace High-Energy Appliances with More Efficient Versions

Purchasing appliances with an ENERGY STAR label will ensure that large appliances like the dishwasher, dryer and washing machine are using the least amount of energy. Appliances stand up to a variety of standards before receiving the prestigious label. In addition, operating these appliances after peak demand times can further reduce strain on the grid.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Known for saving money, programmable thermostats allow homeowners to create a schedule that follows a family’s routine. Thermostats can be adjusted during the seasons to heat and cool when it makes the most sense instead of constantly working to maintain a specific temperature.

Add an Extra Layer of Insulation

Insulating a home is a quick way to make a big impact when it comes to energy efficiency and taking to the attic may be the easiest solution when doing so. There are various methods homeowners can look into when it comes to insulation but one thing remains the same—it reduces the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a home.

Install New Doors and Windows

Doors and windows play an important role in the energy efficiency of your home. Replacing older installations with a more energy efficient version can make a big difference. Steel doors have become popular over the years due to their resistance to warping during weather changes and advanced security. When it comes to finding more efficient windows, homeowners should consider versions with the ENERGY STAR or NFRC label.

Last but not least, homeowners can also take steps to make sure doors and windows are properly sealed. This will help keep out unwelcome drafts, which may cause your AC or heat to run excessively.

Go Solar

Solar energy is extremely efficient due to its ability to generate power directly from the sun. Homeowners that work with a SunPower energy consultant are able to determine how many solar panels are necessary to produce enough power for the home’s needs. Better yet, SunPower provides the most efficient solar panels available in the market,1 allowing homeowners to use less panels compared to conventional solar panels. That fact alone can lead to utility savings over time.

Solar energy is also a great home improvement project because it adds value to the property. In fact, a study done by Zillow states that homes with solar panels typically sell for 4.1% more on average when compared to similar homes without it.2 That means homeowners with solar installations not only take advantage of utility-related savings but can also enjoy an added benefit when putting their house on the market.

Creating a more energy efficient home just makes more sense with solar power and it’s never been easier than with the help of SunPower.

This post originally appeared on the SunPower Resource Blog