Green remodeling and building is the hottest trend in the construction industry. McGraw-Hill Construction recently reported that the green homes share of the construction market is expected to rise as much as 38 percent by 2016. Does this mean that more homes will sprout solar panels and feature bamboo flooring? Not necessarily.
Growth in green remodeling is being propelled by an interest in energy efficiency. Straightforward steps such as upgrading insulation and installing energy-efficient windows and appliances are considered "green remodeling". So is smart design to increase a home's function without enlarging its footprint.
Most Boston homeowners want to go green to reduce their impact on the environment and live in healthier spaces, but they are pragmatic about it. Improvements to increase energy efficiency are popular because they lead to measurable payback and greater comfort. Sustainably harvested lumber, low VOC paints, and products made with recycled materials are typically embraced if the costs are comparable to traditional materials. Green products that are priced significantly higher than traditional materials are often dismissed.
The biggest change that I have seen in the past few years is the value that the homeowner now places on energy efficiency. Home designs and materials that minimize energy use are often a priority in renovation, rather than an afterthought.
Homeowners are willing to pay for greater energy efficiency during remodeling, but are they willing to pay more when a house is on the market? An article in the Chicago Tribune reported that green-labeled homes in California sold for 9 percent more than typical California homes. In Boston, where heating costs are so much higher, I'd like to think that energy-efficient, green homes are also worth more to homeowners, but I’m not sure that is the case yet. I don't recall seeing many ads that tout low annual heating costs or space efficient designs as key selling features, but I'm optimistic this is the direction that we are heading.
if you have done green remodeling, what have you done, and why? If you have chosen not to do it, why?
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