The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a collaborative managed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, recently compiled its top 10 picks for remodeling technologies. For more, visit www.PathNet.org/Remodelers.
1. Sealing air leaks: Spray expanding foam or blow fibers such as cellulose into cavities to better insulate your home.
2. Smart ventilation and control systems: New mechanical ventilators can monitor the humidity outside and inside the crawl space, then initiate air exchange when there is an imbalance.
3. Proper heating, ventilating and air conditioning sizing: New guidelines help contractors better estimate HVAC equipment needs.
4. High-efficiency toilets: HETs use about 20 percent less water per flush than standard toilets.
5. Compact fluorescent lights: CFLs use 50 to 80 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
6. High-performance windows: Look for the U-value on National Fenestration Rating Council window labels—the lower, the better.
7. Wireless lighting, thermostats and other controls: "Smart" lighting and climate programs make it easy to save energy.
8. Solar hot water: Heat water with minimal assistance from gas or electricity.
9. Reclaimed/renewable flooring:Bamboo, cork and eucalyptus can last as long as traditional hardwood, and reclaimed planks can be more durable than newer ones.
10. Tubular skylights: These capture and reflect sunlight but don’t gain or lose heat like most skylights.