Families remodel their homes for many different reasons. It may be to accommodate additional people living in the home, to redesign the space better to better suit the family’s current lifestyle, to save money on utility bills, or to reduce their environmental “footprints” and be better stewards of our natural resources.
But as the home building and remodeling industry celebrates Remodeling Month in May, one thing is for sure—remodeling is growing in popularity like never before.
Americans spent $116 billion on improvements to owner-occupied units in 2010. And economists at the National Association of Home Builders forecast that nationwide remodeling expenditures will increase to $131 billion by 2012 as the housing market recovers from the recession.
Remodeling your home can not only bring your family the immediate satisfaction of enjoying a more comfortable living space, but depending on the upgrades you choose, you can realize savings on utility costs and strengthen the long-term value of your home. Green remodeling is one of today’s hottest trends. Green remodeling means incorporating sustainable, durable, and healthier design into the renovation of existing homes. The most popular reason why consumers choose a green remodeling project is a desire to improve their home’s energy efficiency or indoor environmental quality.
Some of the top upgrades that can make a home more energy efficient include putting in high-efficiency windows and low-flow water fixtures, replacing appliances and water heaters with new ENERGY STAR®-rated ones, increasing or upgrading the quality of insulation, and purchasing a high-efficiency HVAC system that is appropriately sized for the area that is to be heated or cooled.
Home owners who want additional assurance that the remodeler they’ve chosen is authentically “green” can make sure to hire a remodeler who has earned the Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation. In order to achieve this designation, remodelers must have at least two years of building industry experience, complete the two-day “Green Building for Building Professionals” course, agree to continuing education requirements and sign a code of ethics, among other requirements. Look for RHBA members with a CGP designation (or a number of other professional designations) by clicking on the “Designation Directory” icon from one of the member search options on our home page www.rochesterhomebuilders.com or search the National Association of Home Builders directory at www.nahb.org.
An added incentive to remodel green is the federal tax credits the government is offering for certain energy efficient home improvements that are installed through the end of 2011.
Installation of qualified energy-efficient insulation material, exterior windows, doors or roofs, and certain electric heat pumps, water heaters and HVAC systems are just a few of the improvements that may qualify for a tax credit. To find out more information, go to: www.nahb.org/efficiencytaxcredit.
Be sure to work with a professional for your project. Choose a member of the RHBA.