Boston area home improvement trends are slow to catch on – especially compared to the world of clothing and fashion design, where trends come and go with the seasons. In the interior design business trends often change annually. Let’s look at five home improvement trends worth keeping an eye on.
While solar improvements have been around for decades, it’s only been recently that the technology has moved past solar panels being an expensive niche market to a sustainable reality for many homeowners. Solar power experts attribute solar’s recent acceptance and accessibility to two main achievements: improved efficiency and the growing support from utility companies, state and local government municipalities and environmentally conscious investors. This means attractive leasing options, government subsidies and certain tax breaks for customers who choose to go solar. As for Boston area home improvement trends, solar panels are making huge inroads in the construction roofing sector.
As one home improvement contractor recently put it, “We are seeing a lot of interest in solar from homeowners who are redoing their roofs. It’s the perfect time to consider adding solar panels.” In addition, roof design is already being impacted to accommodate the demand for solar as an alternate source of power.
The rapid advancement of technology has placed home automation in the forefront of a growing trend in the home improvement and home building markets. New products are consistently introduced to the marketplace to promote the new technology as well as assist homeowners in better managing their homes – from the convenience of controlling lights to automatically setting thermostats and other energy saving devices.
One notable sign that smart home technology is here to stay occurred recently when mega-company Google purchased Nest, a smart thermostat company, for $3.2 billion. Experts say Boston area home improvement trends tend to address needs homeowners never thought they had before, but now the technology exists to meet those needs. As technology improves, new devices enter the marketplace to include items such as portable cameras, Wi-Fi enabled doorbells, two-way speakers, and other smart home features. Homes are consistently being retrofitted with smart home technology and such devices will soon become standard in new home construction. However, despite home automation advantages like lowering power bills and making homes safer, a consistent return on investment for the average homeowner is difficult to achieve due to the ever-changing improvements in technology. To quote another Boston area home improvement expert, “We all want a better mouse trap, the problem is newer and better mousetraps cost money… and keeping up with the technology can be both challenging and costly.”
Home automation has even made its way into the area of making windows more energy-efficient. Recent studies show windows are around 25% more energy-efficient when they are locked. Modern technology enables a reminder to be sent to the homeowner to close or lock their windows to save energy. In addition, energy efficiency is expected to continue to be popular among Boston area home improvement trends. Currently, decorative glass films and coatings can make windows better insulated against the heat and cold. Window glazing, a process whereby windows are coated with a frosted or opaque background, may be the next evolution in energy-efficient windows. Experts say this technology may soon be able to be communicated by the flip of a switch as window manufacturers research the best way to deliver the process to the marketplace so it can be affordable for all new construction.
Though usually thought of as an interior design treatment, the installation of barn doors requires enough aspects of construction to qualify as a building or home improvement trend. Interior barn doors slide on a special bar mounted above the door frame. The frame is designed to provide a smaller footprint and profile for interior thresholds. In addition, smaller customized barn doors are often utilized to hide an entertainment center or disguise a pantry or other storage. Since barn doors offer a unique combination of rustic charm and functionality, the popularity of this trend is growing.
Electric Car Charging Stations
Ongoing growth in the electric car industry is impacting one major aspect of home construction and remodeling – the family garage. Slowly, a greater number of homeowners are making the transition to electric cars. As this happens charging stations have become popular fixtures in family garages. Top-of-the-line car charging stations are still costly, starting between $2,500-$3,000. Self install units can be as cheap as $300. Construction and home improvement experts say we should expect charging stations to become more popular in garages in the future.
With the emergence and predominance of home automation, new home construction and Boston area home-improvement trends have changed dramatically in the past 8 to 10 years. Home automation combined with a greater emphasis on green homes providing sustainable energy will continue to grow in years to come. Furthermore, experts predict improvements in technology and changing lifestyles will dominate home construction for the next several decades.
The age of technology in which we are currently living is moving so rapidly in comparison to the advances made in the last generation it’s hard to fully comprehend. It wasn’t long ago that such “modern conveniences” like an electric garage door, a central vacuum system, or motion sensitive security lights were thought of as high tech. Today, homes can virtually regulate themselves with respect to heating and air conditioning, energy usage, home security measures and other technological advances that have been adapted for in-home use. Perhaps best of all is that as innovation occurs much of the focus will be on delivering that innovation and technology to the home buying and homebuilding industry. After all, what better way to pay for this emerging – and sometimes expensive – technology than by folding it into a 30-year mortgage as part of the sales price of a new home?
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