The survey said 73 percent of remodelers had installed energy-efficient windows. Insulation replacement and spraying foam or fiber insulation was part of the job for 65 percent of remodelers, while 27 percent insulated foundations and 52 percent installed insulated exterior doors. Water-saving devices and fixtures were installed by 46 percent of contractors, while 47 percent installed high-efficiency kitchen appliances and 56 percent installed high-efficiency HVAC systems.
Homeowners have embraced new technology that can save energy and money, including tankless water heaters, which heat water on demand instead of continuously using energy. Thirty-five percent of the surveyed contractors had installed tankless water heaters.
Some of these remodeling jobs may have been undertaken for home sellers, who are highlighting the energy efficient and environmentally friendly features of their homes to potential buyers. Competing with new condominiums with rainwater recycling and green roof features and with new, more energy-efficient homes from builders means homeowners may need to incorporate green features in their homes to attract buyers.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC offered "eco-friendly" tips in April that add appeal to homes for green buyers.
* South-facing windows provide natural daylight that can keep a home warmer in winter months, allowing the thermostat to be set lower. Lowering shades during summer daylight hours can reduce energy costs.
* Sustainable landscaping, which includes planting native plants, vegetation and shade trees strategically to reduce the need for water and to provide summer shade, appeals to eco-conscious buyers. Eliminating or reducing the amount of lawn on a property promotes energy conservation for lawn care.
* Renewable energy such as solar, wind, water or geothermal energy reduces pollution. Many utility companies offer options to consumers to purchase renewable energy. For example, residents of Carroll's Creek in Gambrills, Md., a Centex Homes community, can purchase renewable wind power from Clean Currents.
* Lowering the temperature settings on water heaters, dishwashers and laundry machines reduces energy use. Low-flow sink faucets and shower heads lessen water consumption.
* Recycling rainwater for gardening by collecting water under drains reduces water consumption.
* Refurbish cabinets, tile or flooring rather than replacing them. Old appliances should be replaced by energy-efficient appliances and old appliances can be donated for recycling or reuse.
* Insulate pipes to reduce energy bills.