Q: What remodeling elements will improve my home’s energy efficiency?
A: If you are planning a remodel and you’ve been thinking about ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’re in good company.
As energy costs continue to rise, more remodeling projects are including energy-efficient updates that are both environmentally responsible and economically pleasing.
May is National Home Remodeling Month, and a recent remodelers’ survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that high-performing, low-emissive (low-E) windows are the most common green building products used by residential remodelers.
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This type of window tops the list of the most common building features that homeowners use to help them improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
According to the survey, improved availability and affordability of high-performing products has led to energy-efficient features being incorporated into more home-improvement projects.
These types of products are among the most popular because they help homeowners save money on utilities, they can improve indoor-air quality and they can strengthen the long-term value of a home.
The most popular green building products, according to the survey, are high-performance windows, including low-E and argon-gas models; high-efficiency HVAC systems; programmable thermostats; and Energy Star appliances.
Other popular features include ceiling fans, moisture-control products such as bathroom fans, water-conserving fixtures and high-performance insulation.
Technology that improves a home’s performance has increased dramatically in recent year. Seventy percent of remodelers in the survey report that they used programmable thermostats, an increase from 42 percent as recently as 2011.
Sixty-two percent say they used ceiling fans in their remodels, up from 37 percent in 2011.
The trend is expected to continue to grow. According to a recent green-building study by McGraw Hill Construction and the National Association of Home Builders, the percentage of remodelers who expect to be doing more than 60 percent of their projects green will double over the next five years.
Most experts advise homeowners to plan a remodel to enhance their quality of life rather than trying to add the most resale value to their home.
While it is true that updated kitchens and bathrooms tend to boost your home’s resale value more than other types of remodeling projects, market conditions and other factors can affect how much you may be increasing your home’s value.
Adding green upgrades to your remodel, on the other hand, will definitely save you money in the long run.
HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.