Get smart about your living environment: Five trends that will make your home truly your own

Home Remodeling(ARA) – If you’re looking to purchase or remodel a home, you likely are building a long list of “must-haves,” “must-dos” and “must-includes” for your new space. There’s no question the housing market is in a different place than it was as recently as five years ago. Of course, a tough economy has been the prevailing factor, but other things – an aging population and a tough job market – are influencing how people are living today and possibly into the future. If you’re like most home seekers and remodelers, you may find that your requirements fall in line with these five growing trends:

Bigger isn’t always better: As interest grows in living more efficiently, people are building smaller homes. In fact, new homes are now 7 percent smaller than they were the previous year, according to the Census Bureau.

Just my style: Homeowners are aiming to make their home fit their personal visions of the best investment on the dollar, and 20 percent of new homes are currently custom-built, according to the American Institute of Architects. This trend to customize is in part made possible by the parallel trend to build a smaller home. Smaller spaces free up dollars to put toward the products that fill it. Color, decor and products that help make a home feel one-of-a-kind versus one-of-many are becoming king.

Multigenerational: Homeowners also are seeking spaces that accommodate residents of all ages. One-third of baby boomers report they have adult children still living at home or likely moving back home at some point, and 8 percent of Americans report their parents already live with them or will in the future, according to the Census Bureau. With more people living under one roof – some possibly in diminishing health – you may be among the homeowners seeking products that will help ensure a healthier, cleaner environment. This may range from a programmable thermostat to help you bring comfortable temps to all ages, to an air filter to help keep germs and airborne particles at bay.

In for the long haul: As life expectancy increases, Americans are building homes that will allow them to “age in place.” Smart technology and system installations that will address future sight, hearing and dexterity-related limitations are becoming increasingly popular as a result.

Energy-efficient: As homeowner concerns about energy costs continue to mount, so too does their attention to home design and products that will help lower their energy bills and decrease their carbon footprint. As a result, homeowners are showing increased attention to factors such as insulation and window quality.

In the end, there are many products and services on the market to help meet these homeowner needs, but there’s one you may have not considered, tucked away in your basement. It’s your home heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system, and it actually plays a role in meeting each of these growing homeowner trends.

* If it’s a smaller home you seek, HVAC manufacturers such as Trane continue to rollout product solutions that offer you the size you need to fit your space.

* Heating and cooling alone accounts for half of the energy used in a home, according the Alliance to Save Energy, so it’s important to install a HVAC system that will deliver optimal performance. A product such as the Trane XC95m furnace is among the most energy efficient on the market, and is equipped with technology that allows it to communicate with all other components of a heating and cooling system.

* If smart technology and a customized home experience are what you need, consider remote home energy management systems. With a solution like Schlage LiNK, a remote access solution that provides home control from a cell phone or any computer with Internet access, you can adjust your home’s thermostat, even when you are not there.

* Your heating and cooling system can also help keep your home a clean and healthy environment for all ages. Many manufacturers offer whole-house air filtration systems, and some of these systems can filter up to 99.98 percent of particles and allergens from your home’s air.

If any of these home trends apply to the “must have” list for your new or remodeled home, your heating and cooling system might be a good place to begin in your planning. Visit www.trane.com to get started. With the right HVAC system, you’ll be on your way to creating your picture-perfect home environment, however small, unique, diverse, long-lasting or energy-efficient you need it to be.



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