Energy-Efficient Trend is Here to Stay
Remodeling trends come and go, which is a good thing if youâ€™re talking about shag carpet or avocado-colored Formica. But some trends have both staying power and universal appeal, such as the strengthening movement toward homes that are more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Upgrading a few key systems can help homeowners involved in remodeling projects improve their homesâ€™ energy efficiency and operate their households in a more environmentally conscious way. If youâ€™re planning some remodeling, keep these â€œgreenâ€ points in mind:
Energy-efficient appliances: Household appliances account for nearly 35 percent of a homeâ€™s energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administrationâ€™s Residential Energy Consumption Survey. Reducing the amount of energy appliances consume can help homeowners lower utility bills and save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of an appliance. The federal ENERGY STAR program provides consumers with a valuable reference when shopping for energy efficient appliances.
Solar options: Currently, the most common uses for solar power in homes are in heating water and generating electricity. Installing rooftop solar panels can help save money on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After the initial installation investment, solar panels can quickly recoup their costs when used to generate electricity for a home. Many homeowners find that their solar panels not only supply all the electricity their homes need, but also generate an excess that homeowners can then sell back to the local electricity company, for additional cost savings.
More efficient cooling: Air conditioning accounts for more than 41 percent of the energy a home consumes, according to the Energy Information Administration. Fortunately, innovative options have emerged to help cool homes more efficiently, using less energy to produce better results. The Art Cool Gallery, for example, is a wall-mounted unit with a picture frame for customized artwork â€” a duct-free way to deliver cool air to a room.