While remodeling your existing home as opposed to buying a new one may save you money and produce exactly what you want, incorporating green features and practices into the process may generate an even higher ROI.
A great place to start is to consult a custom home builder who also has experience in building green and HealthyBuilt Homes. At Brock Builders we are often able to incorporate green features with little change to the budget, but that also save the homeowner money over time.
Popularity Means Better Pricing
Many home remodeling fads cycle out rather quickly, but “greening” a remodel is a trend that’s here to stay. Popularity is so widespread in fact, that incorporating green features into your home will cost you less today than ever. Plus added incentives like government tax credits, longer product life-spans and long-term reductions in energy use are converting more homeowners every day.
Greater Availability and Design Options
With increased availability also comes a wider range of design options. In the past, green home features may have been thought of as “thrifty” or aesthetically unappealing, but today green home features can be luxurious, stylish, even cutting edge. And in the Asheville area, all levels of green remodels are taking place.
If you are still unsure of whether or not your home remodel should be a little greener, consider the community impact. Using greener practices doesn’t just benefit your family, but also the builders, painters and all contractors who are hired to help make your dream home a reality.
Brock Builders has green home building and remodeling experience, plus the Certification to remodel older homes that may contain lead paint that became required by law earlier this year. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the options for “greening” your home.
Wood flooring is a long running favorite among home owners. But with choices ranging in price, look and eco-friendliness, it helps to understand the basics. The first step you should take is consulting your custom home builder who will already have a strong understanding of what fits your home and budget.
While lower priced wood flooring materials have gained popularity in these economic times, it’s important to understand not only what you’re paying up front, but how a material will handle the test of time.
Some homeowners may want a flooring choice that has a low up-front cost and are not concerned with how it will wear in 10 years, like a low grade number one or two oak. However, most homeowners prefer to invest a little more up front for a product that’s going last, such as a Brazilian cherry.
Green wood flooring like bamboo is appealing, but for it to truly be eco-friendly, this renewable wood source must be local, not shipped across an ocean from Thailand. If you want a green wood flooring option, talk to your certified green builder who can help you find out what’s available locally.
In newer homes, the floor plans are typically more open, making wood throughout a great choice. But wood flooring in kitchens and bathrooms will likely be damaged by water and wear over time, making cork and engineered wood products may be a better choice.
Again, this is where your home builder may be able to help, as he will have a greater understanding of a room’s use matched with an aesthetically appealing floor.
One of the easiest and too often overlooked ways to add green-value to your HealthyBuilt home build is through the incorporation of native and organic landscaping. The use of native, drought-resistant plants is quickly becoming a best-practice for saving money and doing your part for saving the planet.
The shift from reliance upon chemicals for healthy, beautiful greenery towards the use of processes that more closely resemble what nature intended will actually help to harness the plants’ naturally defenses and result in stronger, healthier plants.
The use of native species and good planning to incorporate the plants into the space you’re working with can help cut down on unnecessary time and financial expenditure for maintenance.
You may even wind up saving money in ways you never expected—proper placement of the right trees can actually help reduce cooling and heating costs! So in short, well thought out landscaping means less work, less money and less waste winding up on its way to the landfill.
Another great reason to invest in a healthy, green landscape is the ROI you will see in the form of added value to the home. Typically, the full cost of landscaping, if not more, can be recouped at resale. As a rule of thumb in the real estate market, the right landscaping can easily translate into a 10% increase in property value.
Long, hot baths don’t have to be a waste of energy. Solar hot water systems can heat the water for your kitchen or bath without running up your electric or gas bill.
In fact, many homeowners are now replacing traditional hot water heaters with solar powered systems, proving to be a revolution in green building. Solar water heaters use collection plates and highly insulated storage tanks to harness the power of the sun, thereby reducing carbon footprints and saving money on energy bills.
Systems are categorized as either active or passive. Active systems circulate the water within the tank using pumps or coils. While passive systems rely on gravity and the water’s natural temperature based circulation. An experienced green builder can advise you as to which system fits with your solar water heating needs. Some factors to be considered include your home site, local building codes, and the size of your family.
Whichever system you choose, the benefits can be astounding. According to some statistics, solar water heating systems can reduce your monthly utility bill, essentially paying for itself in less than five years. Your home builder can also help you to comply with federal tax credit regulations regarding a new solar hot water heating system to further help in covering the costs of the unit and installation. Federal tax credits will pay for up to 30% of the cost of installation of an energy star solar water heating system, but only if the system is installed before the deadline of December 31, 2016.
It’s important to contact your green building specialist as soon as possible to discuss the solar heating options for your home to start saving money and energy. Whether you’re building a new construction or updating the system in your existing homes, it’s a win-win situation for all homeowners.
Conserving energy through the use of “green” products might not have been at the top of your list a few years ago, but thanks to the 2009 economic stimulus bill the government has made it financially beneficial to homeowners to work toward energy efficiency. Tax credits are available unlike ever before to homeowners who are planning a home remodel with green appliances and practices.
The 2009 economic stimulus bill improves upon pre-existing credits in a big way:
- 2009 tax credits are now in effect until 2010
- The 10% tax credit is now 30%
- Tax credits that were once a specific amount are now converted to 30% of the cost of materials
- The maximum credit is now $1500 instead of $500 and is for all improvements combined for the 2009-2010 period
- Certain home improvements, including geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and panels are not subject to the $1500 maximum
Asheville remodeling contractors such as Brock Builders can perform a home energy audit to outline the areas that will benefit most from installing energy-efficient appliances and insulation systems. By installing a variety of energy-efficient items from the following categories, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit of 30 percent:
- Biomass stoves
- Exterior doors, skylights and windows
- Roofing (metal and asphalt)
- Storm doors and windows
- Water heaters (nonsolar)
Tax credits are also available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes and new construction) for the following categories:
- Fuel cells
- Geothermal heat pumps
- Solar panels
- Solar water heaters
- Small wind energy systems
The new tax credit does have a discrepancy, however, when it comes to windows. Energy Star windows purchased before June 1, 2009 are eligible for the tax credit of 30%, but not all Energy Star windows purchased after June 1 will qualify. To meet the requirements for the tax credit after June 1, the windows in your remodel must be super-efficient windows with a U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) less than or equal to .30. According to Energy Star’s website, most of their windows will not meet the requirements for the tax credit. These confusing standards are being reviewed by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), who are urging Congress to reconcile the stimulus bill standards with Energy Star criteria.
In order to qualify for the tax credit, all products must have a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying the product meets the standards for the tax credit. The Manufacturer Certification Statement isn’t required to send in with your tax return but must accompany your receipts and records. It is recommended by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to save all receipts with the contact information of each manufacturer, the make and model of the product, and the manufacturer’s statement that the product meets the tax credit standards.
Whether you plan to do a basement, bath or kitchen remodel, hiring a general contractor familiar with these tax credits ensures your home remodel is earning the highest credits possible, the proper appliances and products are purchased and installed, and the specific records you need are organized. When helping the environment while saving money, everybody wins.