How to Go Green With Eco Friendly Home Improvements

Remodeling your home is a great opportunity to obtain a fresh and eco friendly home design. Even if you are not completely reinventing your house, you can still go green by making a few adjustments that will increase energy efficiency and make you save money in return.

Green Home Improvement Ideas

The first area that can be made more energy efficient is the bathroom. In the United States, 40% of domestic water consumption is used just in the bathroom, and older bathrooms use an average of 13,000 gallons of fresh water each year. By installing a dual flush toilet, you can save energy by controlling the amount of water that is used each time you flush. You can also improve the efficiency your shower system by setting up a low pressure shower head which consumes much less water, but still gets you as clean as before.

If you decide to paint the walls a different color, you can go green by making sure to use paint that does not contain any VOCs (volatile organic chemicals). This is important because VOCs lead to air pollution, and contamination of soil and groundwater.

Switching from carpet to hardwood floors is one of the biggest trends in home improvement, which is a good thing if you want to make your house more eco friendly because carpet is a source of dust, lint, mildew, pet dander, and other allergens. By removing the carpet, you can improve the overall air quality of your home. The other good news is that most homes have hardwood floors beneath the carpet, so you can go green by simply polishing and refinishing the floors that you already have instead of installing new ones.

Specialty Home Improvement Remodeling Projects

The purpose of a home improvement remodeling project is to make your home more attractive and functional. Some of the usual improvements involve redoing floor and wall coverings, adding cabinetry, and improving the lighting. Other choices are installing new fixtures, knocking out or building new walls, and even something as simple as painting. Yet, some of the most exciting projects involve adding something special to an existing home.

Home Entertainment

One home improvement remodeling task you might like to do is to install an entertainment system that works throughout your home. The setup is crucial. The wiring for the system has to be run behind the drywall. This means that you either add this as a part of a larger renovation project that includes removing the drywall, or you have to string the wiring behind the drywall some other way.

You will have outlets behind your whole home entertainment system to plug in the components to AC current. There should be jacks for the cable and Ethernet feeds. You connect the audio wiring in each room to a special outlet near the entertainment system, and then hook it up. When you have successfully installed the system you should be able to listen to different music all over the house, and watch movies with surround sound in your main entertainment room and from any TV in the house.

This installation process must be done carefully to achieve maximum functionality and maintain an attractive appearance. If you have any qualms about doing this home improvement remodeling work yourself, it is a good idea to use a professional remodeling company to make sure it is done right.

Home Security

Installing a home security system is another one of those home improvement remodeling projects that must be hard-wired into the house. The wiring runs to a central location, usually in a basement or utility room. At this spot, you put the master controls and alert relays. Then, throughout the house, you install sensors to catch break-ins, fires, and elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

To do the job, you will have to know the various kinds of sensors and how to install each one. There are magnet sensors, switch door sensors, glass-breaking sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, smoke sensors and heat sensors. The sensors must be placed carefully or the alarms might go off when they are not supposed to. Conversely, if you do not wire the sensors in appropriately, the alarms might not sound at all. This is a job that you must be sure you can do correctly; otherwise you will be putting your family’s security at risk.

Green Living

One type of specialty task that is becoming more and more commonplace is a green home improvement remodeling project. There is so much that you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home that it is a shame not to do what you can.

A green remodeling job can include energy efficient appliances and fixtures. It can mean increasing the insulation in your house or getting more efficient windows or doors. It can also mean working towards net zero energy consumption by producing energy with solar panels. A skilled home improvement remodeling company can help you find all the best ways to go green.

Green Home Improvements: Take Advantage of Tax Credits for Energy-Saving Home Improvements

Green home improvements have been encouraged in recent years through the offering of tax incentives. For people interested in making their homes more energy efficient and gaining the tax benefits at the same time, here are some tips to help you understand what types of green home improvements qualify for a tax credit and how to make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn your benefit.

Some green home tax credits are expiring at the end of 2010. Although we are approaching year-end, there is still time to take advantage of some of these money-saving incentives for energy-saving home improvements, but you must hurry.

Tax credits are offered on a wide range of green home improvements and upgrades. Some are very inexpensive to do; other can be quite costly even with the tax credit. Here is a summary of what is available for 2010.

The simplest and least expensive energy-saving home improvement that qualifies is adding insulation. Insulation for your attic can be purchased for no more than $50 to $100, and if you install it yourself (which is fairly easy and straightforward to do) there is no additional cost. This will earn you a tax credit of 30% of the cost.

For more expensive investments, tax credits of 30% of the cost, up to a maximum credit of $1500, are available now for the purchase and installation energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning units, energy efficient windows and doors, and water heaters. The credit includes the cost of materials and also the cost of installation for all these items except for the installation on doors and windows (don’t ask me why windows and doors are excluded; it makes no sense, but that is the law).

It is important to remember that these tax credits apply only to your primary residence. Second homes and rental homes and apartments do not qualify for the items listed above.

But I have saved the best part for last. There are even better tax benefits available for rooftop solar panel arrays, small residential wind turbines, and geothermal heat pump systems. For these specific green home improvements, the tax credit covers 30% of all costs, including installation without any upper limit. Even better, for these specific energy-saving investments the tax benefits can be claimed for your primary residence and second homes. Unlike the previous cases, new constructions are also okay. And get this: these government-provided subsidies are not expiring at the end of 2010. Tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps are available through the year 2016.