Is your home ready for a “green” makeover? With the interest rate increases and a housing shortage that changed the national real estate market in 2022, homeowners may want to invest in home improvements this year instead of buying. A customized, energy-efficient remodel could add or redefine space, save money on utility bills, and increase your home’s value, all while making it more modern and comfortable.
This year’s green remodel trends emphasize energy efficiency with “smart home” technologies, a new standard of HVAC technologies, water-saving systems, and environmentally friendly building materials.
These Smart Trends Save Energy (aka, Money)
One of the biggest trends to emerge from 2022 that’s poised to rock in 2023 is “smart home” technology. Putting your home on autopilot with smart home devices will reduce energy usage. For example, smart thermostats “learn” to control the heating and cooling according to the homeowner’s living patterns. Heat pumps, lights, door locks, and security systems are autonomous but can also be controlled by a mobile phone when you’re miles away. Even modern appliances have gotten in on the smart trend with mobile phone apps. Everything is designed to provide maximum comfort and energy savings.
Smart electrical panels are an emerging trend that will delight homeowners. They do the same thing as old-fashioned electrical panels, but they are a better match for today’s sophisticated smart homes, electric vehicles, solar energy, and more. A smart panel continuously monitors energy usage throughout the house and communicates to the homeowner’s app or computer when some circuits could be shut off to save energy. They can also allocate energy usage to off-peak times to save money, or draw energy from a solar battery instead of the grid during peak times.
For homes that are ready for new HVAC systems, people are flocking to energy-saving equipment like heat pumps for heating and cooling and heat-pump water heaters. The U.S. Dept. of Energy has raised the minimum efficiency standards for 2023. Drafty older homes could use new insulation, high-efficiency windows, doors, and skylights to seal out weather. Look for Energy Star-rated and NFRC-certified products. Learn more at Energy.gov and try out its handy window selection tool.
The Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits and rebates for most energy-efficient upgrades, potentially saving homeowners thousands of dollars on their purchases in addition to monthly savings on their energy bills for years to come.
The 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are Supercharging Trends in Green Building Materials
Updating indoor spaces to be more energy efficient is one thing, but homeowners can take it to the next level by using eco-friendly building materials, too. Homes that are due for new siding and roofs would get a fresh, new look with sustainable materials that are often more durable and need less maintenance.
For example, vinyl siding is out and composite siding, made from recycled plastic and wood or cement and wood, is in. The age-old technologies of fire-resistant, eco-friendly stucco and earthen blocks made from natural materials like clay, sand, limestone, and cement are regaining popularity for their efficiency and durability.
Asphalt shingles, which are made with petroleum, are losing favor to longer-lasting metal roofing and terra cotta roof tiles for their toughness and weather resistance. White “cool roofs” in hot climates keep homes cooler by reflecting heat rather than absorbing it and attractive solar shingles both protect and power the house. In fact, solar systems will continue to dominate the residential renewable energy market in 2023 due to their cost savings and the IRA’s 30% solar tax credit.
Green builders are also sourcing local, repurposed, and reclaimed building materials. Metal and steel that were carefully removed from other sites can be saved from the landfill and reused in new construction. Trees prevent erosion, provide shade, and remove carbon from the air. Instead of using new lumber, seek out reclaimed wood, which can also be used indoors to add an interesting design element.
Climate change is causing extreme droughts in the West, and conserving water has become part of daily life. Two types of rain collection systems either route rainwater from a roof through pipes and filters into a rain barrel, or collect the rain that falls on the ground through pipes and filters into an underground tank. The water from either system can be used to supplement irrigation, water plants, wash cars and even clothes.
Green Home Improvement Loans
Homeowners who want to upgrade their digs and incorporate these green renovations can apply for a home improvement loan from Clean Energy Credit Union. Once qualified, homeowners can look for local design-build firms, architects, and contractors that specialize in green building for additions, remodels, and energy-efficient upgrades. Your eco-friendly home will feel brand new and add many more years of happiness.
Our mission is to make clean energy accessible to more people. Whether you’re building your dream home or investing in your existing home, a Clean Energy Credit Union customized home-improvement loan can finance the energy-efficient upgrades you need to save money and live your values.