The Remodeling Corner

Janet Cook

Earth Day is April 22 this year, a time to celebrate innovative products to help conserve energy and natural resources. According to the Green Building Advisor, remodeling an existing house is inherently greener than building a new home. Here are a few award-winning products that will make your home improvement projects green for the planet and for your wallet!

Tesla has joined with Solar City to produce solar roof tiles. They have the look of slate or clay tile and are more durable than their counterparts. The companies are reporting that the cost will be less than current roof solar panel systems, and what they lose in efficiency from being decorative/camouflaged, they gain in having edge-to-edge roof coverage. They announced they will be going into production this summer.

When LED bulbs entered the market, they cost $50. Now, the price is so low that their cost can be recouped in a year. LED lights do not have mercury (like fluorescents), are now dimmable and some can even mimic the flicker of a candlelight if so desired. Lighting technology has advanced so much in the “smart” realm too. Your lights can learn your pattern and develop presets for activities like, “coming home” or “cooking.” You can also turn on a preset ambiance from exciting to cheerful to tranquil. There are smart bulbs that will turn on a series of lights at night when the doorbell rings, so it looks like someone is home and approaching the front door. There are models that can provide five hours of light after the power goes out too.

The cost of water use is steadily rising. The Greyter HOME Water System will filter water from showering or bathing for use for flushing toilets. The unit will store water to fill toilet tanks, saving about 30% of the household’s water use. While it is processing the recycled water, it can use the heat from the water to heat the water coming into the hot water tank to improve hot water availability while you shower too! However, it probably wouldn’t be as effective as using a tankless water heater. What you could do to make it even more efficient, is use both. If you have the Greyter HOME system installed, you could read guides like What Size Tankless Water Heater Do I Need: A Guide for Homeowners, to help you find the tankless water heater that suits your home and system best to get on-demand hot water consistently!

Home envelopes are becoming more air tight, so bringing in fresh air through the ventilation system is important for air quality. The problem is the HVAC system had to work harder to condition the outside air. After consulting with a company like CJS Heating & Air, they suggested finding something that will help balance the air. The product winning the Best Energy Efficient Product for 2017 at the International Builders Show is the Intelli-Balance 100. It is a system that will balance the air exchange of bringing in fresh air without bringing in humidity or heat. The judges’ comments were, “It is an industry game changer.” It can be vented directly into the home or into the HVAC unit. It is an exciting time!

Happy Home Remodeling!

Janet B. Cook, CAPS, President of Cook Remodeling (celebrating their 38th year), invites you to visit their blog on for photos and more detailed information on these award-winning green products.