Today's Trends for Your Home

By Shirla Graffer
Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:39am

As the economy begins to show signs of growth in the housing market, more homeowners are opting to stay in their homes and upgrade.  One of the biggest trends in home improvement in 2013 will be in energy efficiency and the use of environmentally friendly products like low VOC paints, insulation and carpeting.
Many homeowners are put off by the potential high cost of upgrading to energy friendly products. The Internet has opened a whole new frontier in terms of research and cost cutting.  Many home improvement companies offer Internet specials and printable coupons to help alleviate some of the costs of upgrading. Let’s take a look at some areas of improvement that can save you money in monthly utility bills, add value to your home, and offer additional cost savings through the use of online deals and printable coupons.

Exterior Improvements
When considering an upgrade, the first place to look is your home’s windows. More energy is lost through old windows than anywhere else in your home. Improvements in technology have made new windows more energy efficient than ever before. In addition, new windows can improve your home’s curb appeal and make it more comfortable and quiet. Replacing old single pane windows with double or triple pane glass can keep your home warmer in winter, cooler in summer and reduce your annual energy bills by as much as $426.00. Many companies offer savings, special financing, and buyback programs for your old windows.

If you are planning on residing your home, make sure you use an energy efficient barrier like Tyvek. Most homes built before 1970 have no under layer between the siding and the exterior sheathing. Using a membrane or foam under layer like Tyvek can save money in energy costs and protect your home from mold and water damage.

Interior Improvements
Volatile organic compounds or VOC are chemical compounds present in many construction products. They are odorless chemical gasses that evaporate at room temperature and may be harmful to your health.  If you are considering redecorating your home, choosing low or no VOC paints, carpets, and insulation is a smart alternative. Although many green products can cost slightly more than traditional ones, using green products is safer for your family and may be an additional benefit when it comes time to sell your home. Check online for deals through manufacturer’s websites. Many big box home improvement stores also offer printable coupons for additional savings.

One final area to consider when upgrading your home is your appliances, Older washers, dryers, and kitchen appliances can be costly to run and not environmentally friendly. New Energy Star appliances can save money every month in utility costs. In addition many states offer rebates when you replace old outdated appliances with energy star appliances. Massachusetts recently offered a rebate program that paid up to $400.00 in rebates for replacing a typical kitchen - stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave. Smart shoppers who watched for springtime sales saved close to $1000.00 with manufacturer discounts and the state rebate program. In addition, many retailers will offer Internet specials, printable coupons or bundle pricing for even greater savings. 
Your home is most likely your biggest investment. Upgrading can add resale value; monthly savings on your energy costs and make your home even more comfortable.