Energy Efficient Home Improvement: Outdoor Projects Edition

Energy Efficient French DoorsWith summer upon us, most of us will be spending more time outside our home than inside it.  Your outdoor environment should be just as comfortable as the interior of your home.  In addition to landscaping, adding a few improvements to your outdoor space can not only make your yard more enjoyable, it can actually increase your home&;s value.  Here are some options to explore that may help make your home&;s value increase and allow you to make the most of the summer season.


Make Necessary Replacements

Nothing makes your home look fresh like replacing the fundamental exterior components- roofing, siding and windows.  These items not only make your home look appealing, they are vital to making your home safe from damage due to water, insect infestation, mold, mildew, wood rot and more.  These repairs should take precedence over any other repairs because they directly impact your home&;s value, safety and interior.

If you need a new roof, there are many options to consider since
 shingles are available in a variety of colors to complement any home&;s style.  If it is energy efficiency you crave, try roofing shingles with granules that reflect the sun&;s heat.  Roofing isn&;t the only area that has dramatically improved in technology.  Siding has come a long way in the last few years and is now available in many textures, finishes and colors that make vinyl siding look like higher-end materials.  Fiber cement, brick and stone are other options depending on your budget.  Be sure to check the insulation when you replace these items as it tends to settle over the years.

Replacing your windows can make a huge difference in your home&;s curb appeal and utilities.  Technologies to look for are Low E glass that allows the home to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summerCustom built replacement windows provide the best value because they fit snugly into the window frame and maximize the window&;s energy efficiency.

These improvements will not only make your exterior look great but also make your interior more energy efficient and cooler during the hot summer months.  Don&;t forget to take advantage of the tax credits before they end on December 31, 2010.  Many roofing, siding and window products discussed above qualify for this credit.  For more information what products qualify for the credits, read our Tax Credit Explained white paper.

Adding a Deck or Patio    

Energy Efficient Patio DoorsDecks and patios provide comfortable areas for families to gather, socialize and share meals.  One key point to keep in mind, however, is that the size of the patio or deck must be proportionate to the size of your home.  Adding an oversized deck to a small cape is not aesthetically pleasing and looks awkward.  Your yard should be an extension of your home and reflect the same style.  You can make the outside more pleasing and interesting by adding colors, stains and/or stamping to the concrete patio.  Another option is constructing the deck out of sustainable “green” composite materials such as, wood, rice hulls or recycled plastic.  These are not only eco friendly but also long lasting and low maintenance.  Make the transition from inside to outside seamless with French doors.

Lighting and Décor

The lighting and décor of your outdoor space should be consistent with the indoor style but that doesn&;t mean it has to be boring. Outdoor Living Space Outdoor fixtures of metal or faux-finish can add high end style without breaking the bank.   Outdoor lighting kits are also available at a fair price if you are interested in getting creative.  Don&;t forget to keep the bugs away!  Metal torches and outdoor fire pits can provide relief from mosquitoes and enhance the look of your yard.  Patio furniture with cushions and pillows of bright colors and patterns can brighten up your space.

Consider your climate

Making your outdoor area reflect your region and climate is important because it should reflect your outdoor needs.  For example, if you live in the southwest, adding an outdoor kitchen to your yard will not only add value but will get a lot of use due to the consistently warm temperature year-round.  If you live in the Northeast, making a portion of your porch screened in or lined with windows will allow you to utilize the area during three seasons instead of one.

These improvements discussed not only perk up your outdoor living space, they may increase your home&;s value.  With summer in full swing, now it the best time to tackle any of the projects discussed.  Get out there and get creative because the possibilities are endless!

If your home is in need of roofing, siding, windows or insulation, we can provide you with a FREE no obligation estimate if you call us at 1-800-975-6666.

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