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Green Home Remodeling Projects for 2009

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In spite of recent drops in the construction and home buyers' market, programs and studies for green building development are trending upwards. In fact, the whole "going green" philosophy is really picking up speed in many industries, making the future of green homes a positive investment, as well as a potentially critical aspect of the economy's recovery.

What Does it Mean to be Green?

Client demand and the development of completely green construction programs has fueled a boost in cost-effective building options for green home buyers. Certified green homes can carry initial reduced costs for buyers, and offer further cost benefits in terms of future living expenses.

Green building incorporates energy efficiency, lower cost materials, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, and conservation-related landscape planning into its construction process. These factors create a greater possibility for homeowners to live comfortably, while also doing their part to preserve the area's resources and reduce their own energy consumption.

There are many factors to be decided in the design, construction and funding of your green home. First, you'll want to get in touch with a green building company, or a contractor that works with a green building program to begin the planning process. Check to see if your contractor is affiliated with any of these notable green home building programs:

  • Energy Star Home Program: Homes qualified through this program are estimated to save $200-400 annually in heating and cooling costs.

  • U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes: LEED homes are designed to fall into the country's top 25 percentage of new homes with the best energy efficiency, water efficiency, construction efficiency, use of land resources, and indoor air quality.

  • American Lung Association Health House Program: builds energy efficient homes that are also allergen, radon and mold resistant for superior air quality.

  • The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Model Green Home Building Guidelines

  • U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Program

Extra Benefits of a Green Home

Keep in mind that there are also many regional programs for green building worth looking into. Many green building programs throughout the country offer incentives for homeowners such as state-based tax credits, reduction estimates in total bill costs, and energy-efficient mortgage deals.

Once you've selected a trusted home contractor to work with, you can begin pinpointing specific details in your design that will truly qualify your new home as a green home.

For most people, having a wind turbine on their property or a roof covered in solar panels isn't always feasible. However, by opting for specific building materials, appliances and design features, you can still create a certified green home. Here are a few possible building features you can incorporate into your green home plans:

  • Building materials like recyclable plastic lumber, engineered wood and fiber cement siding are proven to be very durable, long-lasting and conservative of natural resources.

  • Advanced framing, air sealing, and improved insulation (such as with blown cellulose), are all construction features that will cut building and energy costs by reducing drafts, improving thermal insulation, and reducing interior moisture and mold. Installing a high efficiency, well-insulated water heater will reduce energy and water costs.

  • Installing double-paned windows with low emissivity, window and door flashing, and a correctly sized, pressure-balanced HVAC system will help to ensure the overall comfort and regulation of the home's temperature.

  • Installing interior mechanical ventilation systems and ceiling fans, using low-pile or natural fiber carpeting, and applying low-VOC or low-toxicity paint and sealants will all help reduce air pollutants and improve overall indoor air quality.

  • Purchased and installed home appliances like washers, dryers, shower heads and other electrical devices should be as energy efficient as possible.

These are just a few of the many ways homeowners can ensure that their new home is a green one. Be sure to research and consult with a professional home contractor about all the ways you can save through a green building program, or about how you can transition your existing home into a green home.

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