Thanks to federal tax incentives and a growing concern for the environment, many Americans are installing rooftop solar panels to cover or offset the cost of their utilities. In the last ten years the solar industry has grown by an unprecedented 1,600 percent and it shows not signs of slowing. As solar becomes more affordable, however, debates have opened up around the use of solar power and its effect on older ways of producing electricity (like coal-fired and nuclear power plants). Solar power is a complicated process that is part of an even more complicated industry. If you're thinking about making the switch, consider this your crash course in rooftop solar power.
Smart home technology is an innovative trend in residential home construction. Innovative advances in technology are forever changing the way we live our lives and build our homes. Smart home technologies once available only in the most luxurious of homes and requiring specialized expertise to design, install, program, and set up, can now be found at all price levels of new home construction. Is the growing rate of burglaries and home invasions a concern? Do you want to be able to anonymously look in on the nanny or see what your teenagers are up to when you are away? Homeowners, due to growing security concerns, are embracing the many new or enhanced safety and security features that smart home automation systems can achieve. Busy professionals are expressing safety and security concerns for aging parents and young children. Smart home technology can relieve concerns with state-of-the-art remote monitoring equipment and technologies. Energy efficiency is another motivating factor behind the increase in smart home technology. The home construction industry is embracing the energy efficiency trend and incorporating home automation systems to meet the ever-growing demand for energy efficiency and reduction of home heating and cooling bills. Convenience and ease of operation drive the technology marketplace with new gizmos and gadgets appearing weekly. Did you fail to turn down the air conditioning when you left for work? No worries. With a touch of an app, you can turn up the heat, turn down the temperature, arm the alarm system, start the slow cooker, water the lawn, or turn on exterior lighting. From a laptop, tablet or smartphone, today’s homeowners can control security systems, lighting, HVAC, entertainment equipment and so much more. The latest innovations in smart home technology can include tank less water heaters, geothermal features, and solar power. Green innovations include the use of recycled materials, advanced framing techniques, tree conservation, and infill projects. When “smart home” owners closely monitor energy and water consumption, they save money. Green Is Good Builders and home buyers are realizing that today’s green technology can give a return on investment must faster than in the past; the concern of additional upfront costs overshadowed by long-term savings from efficiency. Imagine! With a smart home, you are only limited by your imagination. If there is a function in your home that operates electronically, your electrician or technology consultant, working with your builder, can incorporate it into your smart home design. Not only does incorporating green building materials and techniques save money, but it also results in better quality construction practices that result in structures that often hold their value better. We all want to do our part to protect the planet. Green building techniques and technologies make homeowners feel good about minimizing their impact on the environment.