Many of our clients are less interested in “green” construction than they are in projects that offer health, comfort, and low ownership costs.
“Green” remodeling hasn’t been as big a hit among homeowners as some contractors hoped it would be. It’s easy to see why. Green has been over-used as a marketing term, often supported by vague definitions and poorly defined customer benefits. But while many homeowners are no longer moved by pleas to “go green,” they remain very interested in upgrades that use less energy and require less repair and maintenance.
The good news is that making a home more energy-efficient and durable also reduces its impact on the environment. And its owners reap a harvest of concrete benefits.
Green Builder Magazine definesa greenhome as "healthier, more comfortable, more durable, and more energy efficient, with a much smaller environmental footprint than conventional homes."
Matt Power, editor-in-chief of Green Builder magazine, agrees that the term “green” doesn’t connect with a lot of homeowners – even though builders and remodelers who embrace the term do a great job meeting those homeowners’ needs. “What we have come to understand as green is really just good building practice.
It’s a high-performance home that’s healthy, safe, and comfortable, with predictable expenses.”
Of course a newly-remodeled home will be better on all these counts than it was before work began, but high-performance professional remodelers raise the bar even higher.
These remodelers prioritize health, comfort, and energy efficiency with top-shelf doors and windows, high R-value insulation, careful air sealing, and ventilation systems that provide a steady supply of fresh air. By doing so they reduce heating and cooling bills, eliminate uncomfortable drafts, and ensure that the homeowners enjoy a healthy environment. These techniques also keep the home quieter by helping to muffle street noise.
The result is a home that’s a sanctuary—a retreat that is the focal point for family gatherings.
When it comes to heating, cooling, and electric bills, the savings can add up fast. A savings of just $120 per month is $1,440 per, or a five-year savings of $7200.
High-performance remodelers also use quality products and careful construction detailing to reduce costly repairs over time. These details include good moisture management to keep water out of the structure, eliminating worries about mold and rot, as well as top-end mechanical equipment that will last for years without the need for replacement or repair. For instance, with today’s variable speed furnaces the fan runs at low speed much of the time. Besides requiring less fuel to operate, the fan will last longer than one in an older furnace, which runs only at high speed and is constantly switching on and off.
Determining which details to prioritize are driven by budget and client needs. For instance, the homeowners may want to replace all the home's windows when they add that master suite, but may decide to put a furnace replacement on the back burner for now. Local climate and utility rates can also factor in the decision: upgrading the home's insulation might offer the quickest return on investment in one case, while better windows might be the first choice in another. The professional remodeler can help the homeowners choose the best options for a particular project.
The ultimate benefit offered by upgrading a home's performance is peace of mind. “What we’re really talking about is making the home more resilient,” says Power. “Because the home has a lower cost of ownership over time, the homeowners are better able to plan for, and weather, economic ups and downs.”
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