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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Kaitlin Krull

As the twenty-first century progresses, homes are becoming more high-tech and automated. While we haven’t quite reached Star Trek levels of technology in our homes yet, we at Home Improvement Leads think one of the best things about advancing technology in the home is the rapid development of products and materials that help save the environment. Eco-friendly residential design features like solar panels, energy efficient windows and appliances, and sustainable building materials help homeowners do their part to reduce carbon emissions while saving them money at the same time. Here are just a few of the latest eco-friendly home design features you may find in homes like yours in 2017.

 

Building integrated photovoltaics

Every year, more Americans are taking the leap into solar power for their homes. Renewable energy is important for several reasons, including the reduction of carbon emissions given off by traditionally designed buildings and our energy-heavy lifestyles. The latest technology in residential solar power includes photovoltaic panels that are built into the roof itself, making them less conspicuous and offering a more fluid design. Energy powerhouse Elon Musk of Tesla has just introduced a range of solar roofing tiles that will soon make its way into the product catalogs of solar providers throughout the country, changing the face of solar as we know it.

via Fortune

 

Solar batteries

Another advantage of using renewable energy in the home is the ability to store any extra power collected by solar panels to be used later. In addition to producing an innovative solution for solar panels, Tesla has also introduced a second version of its Powerwall—a solar battery for the home—in order to help make homes self sufficient. Solar batteries like these store unused solar energy and can be used to power the home for an extended period of time, making them perfect for off-grid living and eco-friendly homes.

via Tesla

 

Net-zero energy

New homes in particular have seen an upswing in the ultra-sustainable form of building design and construction known as net-zero energy. The goal with net-zero energy buildings is to produce as much energy as is consumed and to have no outstanding carbon emissions. This is accomplished through a variety of environmentally friendly and low energy use practices, including passive solar design (taking into consideration factors such as house direction in relation to the sun and natural shade), sustainable building practices and materials, and the regular use of a renewable energy source.

 

Sustainable building materials

Now more than ever, homeowners are choosing locally sourced, sustainable building materials for home renovation projects and new homes. These considerations not only lower the carbon footprint of a building project but also help the local economy at the same time. As noted above, choosing sustainable products and materials is one of the first and most essential steps in the net-zero energy building process and will instantly increase your home’s eco-friendly status.

Eco-friendly roofing materials

While thinking about the energy efficiency of materials used to construct your home seems straightforward, homeowners often forget to take into consideration the type of roofing their home has and its impact on the environment. Metallic and tile-based roofing materials and light colors can keep your home cooler in the summer by reflecting the sun’s rays, while heavier materials such as asphalt and fiber cement can withstand colder temperatures and give an insulating layer to your roof in the winter. Homeowners who really want to embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle may opt for a living roof—which is covered in vegetation—to reduce their carbon footprint, blend in with their natural surroundings, and regulate the temperature in their home.

Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel

 

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders concluded that the typical homeowner stays in their house for only 13 years before selling, as opposed to the 30+ years from decades past. That’s why we at Home Improvement Leads know that it’s important to consider how each renovation will impact your home’s value and resale potential, in addition to your personal style, before the first hammer is swung. With these six renovation projects, though, you are sure to have both.

 

Increasing Energy Efficiency

In previous years, energy efficiency wasn’t a top priority for homeowners. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and any realtor will tell you that most potential buyers are willing to pay more for a home that touts exceptional energy savings. These renovations can be as simple as laying fiberglass attic insulation or as innovative as installing solar panels. No idea what improvements your home needs? A certified energy auditor can help you determine which upgrades will give you the best savings possible.

 

Window Replacements

Get the comfort you want by replacing worn-out windows with replacements that are approved by Energy Star. In most cases, any expense isn’t recouped through increased property value gets made up for in energy savings, making this renovation a double win.

 

Kitchen Upgrades

For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If yours does little to inspire creativity, consider opting for a minor kitchen update rather than a full renovation—it’ll save both time and money while still yielding a strong ROI. Simply reface your cabinetry, upgrade modestly with your appliances, and replace your flooring and countertops to make your kitchen feel like new again.

 

Outdoor Living

Our homes are so much more than what exists under one roof. Beautiful landscaping and the addition of a backyard deck will not only yield your family hours of enjoyment, but an impressive ROI, too. The national average for new construction costs are more than $85 per square foot. Depending on the materials you choose, a new deck can run you as little as $15 per square foot while boosting your property value by close to $9,000.

 

Attic Conversions

Little does more to make your home more appealing to potential buyers than by having ample bedrooms. Converting unused attic space into a sophisticated bedroom will increase the available living space within your home without having to take on the financial burden that comes with building a new addition. Though this renovation has the potential to run close to $65,000, you can expect to recoup more than 60 percent of that whenever you choose to sell.

 

Smaller Projects with Big Returns

A bigger budget doesn’t always translate into a higher ROI. In fact, smaller projects like replacing your garage doors or your front door have the potential to recoup more than 90 percent of the renovation expense in increased property value. Plus, projects like these are relatively easy to DIY and can be completed in a weekend, which saves you labor costs, too.

 

By thinking of the future when you make your home renovation plans, you’ll get the home of your dreams now and an ROI that will keep you smiling for years to come.

Getting ready to put your house on the market in 2017? Or are you just getting ready for spring in general? I can’t write this article any better…check out http://embracinghomemaking.net/2015/04/200-things-to-throw-away/.