Thursday, 15 May 2014

Future Proof Home Remodeling

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of the American home is 36 years. In other words, the average American home is rapidly approaching middle age. That is a time when major remodeling is often required. Remodeling is a good investment and it can add quality to the lives of the people living in the home. An important aspect of home remodeling is planning for the future. Today, no one wants a house with sagging fiberglass insulation, power guzzling appliances and leaky doors and windows. 10 years ago these were not major issues and ‘green’ building and ‘energy efficiency’ were terms used only by ardent environmentalists. Today it’s an integral part of any new construction and remodeling. No one can predict what the next 10 years will bring, but if the possibilities are not considered, your remodeled home could be out of date sooner than you ever expected. And if you should have to sell it, its market value will not be all that great. So what can you do to future proof your home? Here are a few ideas that can help you out:
  • VOC Free Paints and Finishes:  The health risks of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) found in paints is well known and it poses a serious danger to those living in the home. California, along with a few other states has already limited the amount of VOC emissions of paints sold in the state. Stricter control can be expected in the future. Using VOC free paints and finishes will protect your family and improve the value of your home.
  • The Media Room of Tomorrow: The future will bring in complex systems like single point media distribution that feeds TV, movies, music and the interment to all parts of the house. You may not have access to this today, or may not be interested in it. But who knows what tomorrow will bring or what potential buyer of your home may be looking for? Keeping provision today for the electronics, media and home automation systems that will become available in the next few years will save you a lot of grief in the future.
  • Going Solar: Utility costs are only going to increase in the future. That’s why things like solar water heaters are becoming so popular today. In fact, some states like Hawaii are mandating them in new homes. Installing a solar water heating system can get you a 30% federal tax credit and fitting a tankless water heater can earn you a $1,500 federal credit. And these are the kinds of energy efficient homes that buyer will increasingly look for in the future. Residential solar power generation may still be in its infancy and uneconomical at today’s costs, but it will become a reality in the future. Making provision for it today can save you a lot of money tomorrow, besides increasing the value of your home.
  • A Formaldehyde Free Kitchen: Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen and the National Cancer Institute recommends that people should stay away from products like kitchen cabinets that use it. Keeping your home formaldehyde free is protects your family and increases the value of your home too. Its use may be banned in the future and then homes that contain it will lose a lot of their market value.
  • Insulate: Batt or blanket insulation and fiberglass are popular today. The future of insulation is expected to be with spray in foam insulation which has a high R value (indicating its efficiency). While many foams are urethane based, some are now being made using environment and heath friendly soybean material. Incorporating this into you remodel will save you money in terms of air conditioning costs from day one. And once again, it adds to your home’s value.

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