WASHINGTON - It doesn’t cost much to put a house on an energy diet, says the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In fact, remodeling to improve energy efficiency may pay for itself with immediate savings on energy and water bills. May is Home Remodeling Month, and the NAHB’s Remodelers section is shining a spotlight on the financial incentives of remodeling and offering suggestions for home renovation projects that provide the best return on investment.

“Homeowners save big on green remodels,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Lonny Rutherford, CGR, CAPS, a professional remodeler from Farmington, N.M. “Not only is green remodeling good for the environment, it is great for the checkbook.”

Remodelers are more knowledgeable about green options, and with energy-efficiency tax credits and the latest technology, including high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, homeowners can maximize the efficiency of their home while minimizing their utility bills. As energy costs rise, consumers can save money by making sure their homes use less energy through increased efficiency.

“Smart green remodeling solutions really make a difference in lightening energy bills,” said Rutherford. For example, he said, “installing new windows or sealing air gaps decreases wasted money on heating and air conditioning.”

According to NAHB, homeowners can reduce their utility bills with some simple solutions:

• Install a programmable thermostat to set heating and cooling equipment to automatically turn on or off to match the family’s schedule and create a comfortable and energy-efficient living environment. These units typically offer savings of 10 to 15 percent and cost $40-$100.

• When buying or replacing appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Federal Energy Star-rated appliances are designed to use 10-50 percent less energy and water than standard appliances and save an average of 30 percent over standard models.

• Old windows are often the weak link in energy efficiency. New window technology yields windows that are three times as efficient, or more.

For more information about remodeling, visit www.nahb.org/remodel.

Publication date:05/12/2008