An inside look at Chicago real estate

Homeowners Save the Green Stuff

Mark.Miles By
Mark Miles
   | Green Real Estate

There’s no doubt about it, “going green” is the talk of the town these days. And being in the real estate industry, I see the trend changing the face of home construction and home improvement on all levels. Not only are residential developers striving to incorporate elements of green design, but homeowners are making energy-saving changes to their existing houses.

With Al Gore’s recent Nobel Peace Prize for his work as an environmental advocate, the hype around sustainable living and reducing our carbon footprints has won new ground. The issue is recognized and publicized all over the globe, garnering even more interest from the public, whether they’re diehard environmentalists or first-time recyclers.

People want to help. And for homeowners, that means making some modifications that may cost a pretty penny in the beginning, but can end up saving thousands of dollars over time, not to mention saving the earth’s atmosphere. The concept of using solar-power energy was once a very expensive and futuristic idea that has slowly grown in popularity over the decades. However, new innovations in solar paneling have made the feature more useful and has brought down the expense of installation. And, instead of just generating a source of heat, solar panels now produce electricity and can drastically reduce the average utility bill (by hundreds of dollars per month in some cases).

In the past five years solar power has become a much more affordable option for many homeowners across the nation and, as the figures show, folks are excited about its availability. From 2002 to 2006, the number of American households that had the new solar paneling system installed increased by almost three times from around 2,800 to nearly 7,500. By the end of 2008, it’s anticipated that over 11,000 more will jump on the bandwagon.

Super efficient solar panels are not the only creative, conservation-savvy modernization that can help you make the transition into the green movement. More environmentally friendly home improvement suggestions coming up in my next entry.