(NewsUSA) - Americans are spending more than $200 billion on home-improvement projects each year, and more than ever, people are going green with their remodeling projects.
"Choosing materials that last longer and require less maintenance will save money and require significantly less upkeep over time," said Mike Loughery, a home expert with building products manufacturer CertainTeed Corporation.
Loughery, who has a decade of experience in the home-building industry, offers the following tips for homeowners looking to go green with their home improvements:
* Side smart. Fiber cement and vinyl siding are good materials because they resist long-term wear and tear.
* Roof for a lifetime. Asphalt roofing shingles have never looked better or lasted longer. Quality asphalt shingles are designed to last 50 years or more, which saves money and prevents the woes of early roof replacement.
* No stain. No pain. New vinyl fences feature wood grain textures. Despite its uncanny resemblance to wood, however, these fences need no annual painting or staining. So, there's less hassle, less out-of-pocket spending and no need for chemicals.
* Southern exposure. Southern exposure is a great natural tool that, through the use of the sun's rays, allows you to take advantage of solar energy. During the cooler months, make the most of southern exposure by taking in as much sunlight throughout the day as possible. The reverse goes, of course, when it's hot outside. Shut the curtains to keep the warming rays of the sun outside during the summertime.
* Mitigate mold. Use products that enhance indoor comfort and air quality. Smart insulation products help wall cavities stay dry and help prevent the risk of damaging mold and mildew.
* Hire a green team. The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Web site lists their accredited building professionals. Visit usgbc.org to find a green pro in your neighborhood.