Consumers don't want to wait to buy a new home to get with the home-based green movement.
Luckily, according to a recent survey, they don't have to.
While six percent of remodelers surveyed said they saw less demand for green remodeling late last year, 25 percent said they saw more according to the National Association of Home Builders.
According to green experts a "green" home improvement, just like a newly built green home, is built with more sustainable and conservation-minded materials, designs and technology.
The work helps the home use less energy, water, or other natural resources and it helps generate less waste. And the finished product makes for generally healthier and more comfortable conditions for the occupants than work performed otherwise.
Less energy needed, means less dependence on fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels contributes to pollution, depletion of natural resources and potentially disastrous climatic change, which can affect the health of the planet and its inhabitants, according to the vast majority of scientists.
The vast majority of remodelers, 85 percent, are poised for growth in green demand and already use low-energy windows, 68 percent used insulated exterior doors, 65 percent upgraded insulation, and 56 percent installed high efficiency HVAC systems, according to NAHB's study released during the 9th Annual (NAHB) National Green Building Conference in St. Louis.
Not only is it good for the planet, it's smart marketing.
When people were asked what socioeconomic areas companies should support, the largest percentage, 45 percent of those asked, said protecting the environment and wildlife was No. 1 on their list.
That's more than those who chose as their No. 1 concern fighting poverty (42 percent); education (33 percent); health care (25 percent); help for older citizens (23 percent) and a host of other issues, according to "I-Rep" a survey of consumer perceptions of corporate reputations, by survey-based market research company Ipsos.
"The only way to bring green into120 million existing households is through remodeling," said NAHB Remodelers Chair Mike Nagel, a remodeler from Chicago.
The survey says many remodelers also use environmentally friendly products -- 75 percent minimize harvesting old-growth forests by using alternatives to dimensional lumber, like engineered wood and 65 percent already incorporate recycled or recyclable materials into their projects.
NAHB Remodelers offer a Top 8 list for home owners who want to remodel green.
- Install maximum insulation in the area to be remodeled.
- Install high-efficiency windows instead of those that just meet the energy code.
- Seal all exterior penetrations in the area being remodeled.
- Purchase only Energy Star&Reg; rated appliances.
- Install only low-flow water fixtures.
- Upgrade to an Energy Star® rated water heater, or better yet a tankless water heater.
- Purchase the highest efficiency HVAC system you can afford.
But consumers need more than just a "green" label to make sure the home improvement they pay for is really green.
- U.S. Green Building Council.
- National Association of Home Builders.
- Build It Green.
- National Association of Remodeling Industry.
- "Hiring and Working With Green Building Professionals" by Practica Consulting an Austin, TX-based green building consultant.
- Consumers Union's Greener Choices.
- Green Builder.