Friday, 1 August 2008

The Benefits of Being Green

(ARA) - Kermit the Frog once sang, “It’s not easy being green.” When it comes to modern remodeling, however, not only is it easier than ever to go green, environmentally conscious renovations can deliver significant cost, health and aesthetic benefits.

Each year, Americans spend about $160 billion on remodeling, according to the National Association of Realtors. They remodel to make better use of living space, add storage, replace dated or worn-out features, or simply to personalize their homes. Environmental concerns and rising energy costs are driving an increasing number of homeowners toward green remodeling. Builders and remodelers are responding by offering energy-efficient appliances, such as tankless water heaters, double- or triple-paned windows, and programmable thermostats.

For all the interest in going green, uncertainties about cost, difficulty in finding green products and the fear of losing the air of luxury may keep some homeowners away from the trend. It’s important for consumers to understand their options and make educated decisions on which green building products will best serve their interests, and why a green remodel would be the best choice for them.

Cost Benefits
Energy efficient appliances not only lower your monthly utility costs, but may make you eligible for rebates or tax deductions. Green products are also becoming more affordable as manufacturers compete and develop new products and technologies to meet the growing green building and remodeling demands.

These newer, more energy-efficient appliances, such as Rinnai tankless water heaters, can be significantly more efficient than their older, less efficient counterparts and offer reduced maintenance and replacement costs, thanks to greater reliability of materials. A small investment in these energy-efficient measures can avoid costly problems in the future, including excess indoor moisture, which promotes mold growth, wood deterioration, metal corrosion and other structural problems.

Health Benefits
Green building and remodeling can deliver health, productivity, and air and water quality benefits that serve to better our society and reduce exposure to potential toxins. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers poor indoor air quality to be one of the five most urgent public health risks in the United States. Levels of air pollution inside a home can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels according to a recent study by the American Lung Association.

Green remodeling can reduce exposure to substances, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to childhood asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Major paint manufacturers now offer products that are low in VOCs.

Newer green products, including Rinnai’s tankless water heaters, are made with the homeowner’s desire for luxury and beauty in mind. Manufacturers are designing technologies that are not only energy efficient, but have a modern appeal. With sleek and handsome features, these energy efficient appliances can capture the essence of luxury for any home.

Many green appliances include systems specifically designed to reduce heat loss or gain. Ceiling fans that can increase your comfort range by creating a cool breeze on warm days, metal roofing specifically designed to reduce heat gain and meet specific requirements, HVAC systems with programmable thermostats, and other high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment are all designed with comfort in mind. Sealing air leaks and increasing insulation will help maintain an even temperature throughout the living space, eliminate drafts, control humidity levels and buffer noise from the streets.

Energy consumption has a direct impact on air quality and our natural environment. Green remodel projects allow consumers to be energy efficient while minimizing waste. By choosing environmentally responsible products, homeowners can help protect forests, wildlife, and air and water quality.

In addition, every gallon of water or kilowatt-hour of electricity saved reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas) entering the atmosphere. Tankless water heaters, like those made by Rinnai, are mostly made of recyclable parts. Eliminating inefficient storage tank water heaters will reduce landfill load by about 600 million pounds over 10 years – the equivalent of nearly 130,000 SUVs, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

“Energy conservation has continued to be a major consideration for homeowners, builders and remodelers,” says Mike Murtaugh, marketing director of Rinnai Corporation. “With energy conservation being such a dominant trend in the building and remodeling industry, we expect to see the demand for more energy conscious products and appliances, such as the Rinnai tankless water heater, continue to increase.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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