2. GREEN REMODELING
This Decatur, Ga., home, remodeled by Renewal Design-Build, is certified by EarthCraft and achieved a HERS rating of 58. It includes a geothermal system, Energy Star-rated appliances, high-performance windows, an energy-monitoring system, rainwater cisterns, low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets, and zero-VOC paint.
Perhaps the second most significant trend is a continuing focus on retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient improvements and water-conserving upgrades.
Helping fuel this movement is attention from the government, which has enacted several pieces of legislation to boost funding and motivation for home-energy retrofits. Many local agencies are getting on board as well, including developing special financing programs to help ease the burden of higher-dollar items such as solar and geothermal.
With a renewed emphasis on green home improvement, third-party certification will catch on this year with more remodelers because both the National Green Building Standard and LEED for Homes now have criteria for remodeled houses, says Michelle Desiderio, director of the NAHB Research Center’s Green Building Program.
She notes that the most sought-after green products won’t necessarily be exciting or unique; many products that earn points in green certification programs are conventional or improvements on existing products.
“They’re not necessarily very sexy new products, but just products that can help a home perform better,” she says.