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Addressing the needs of baby boomers and America’s aging population, the desire among home owners of all ages for more energy-efficient homes and for home entertainment are sound growth opportunities for remodelers, according to “The Remodeling Market in Transition,” a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
Existing U.S. homes consume a considerable amount of energy. While estimates vary, studies have found that total energy consumption ranges anywhere from 22% to 40%, depending on the energy source.
To make an existing home more energy-efficient, remodelers can offer home owners a variety of options — from installing new, energy-efficient windows and doors and upgrading appliances to adding insulation, improving the efficiency of the building envelope and installing solar panels.
In addition, remodelers also can offer home owners several less costly technology options that can help decrease a home's carbon footprint — while also increasing their bottom line.
These include installing energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls, integrated house systems, controllable window treatments, energy consumption monitors and integrated sensors that monitor home use and adjust a home’s systems accordingly.
For example, if bedroom sensors don’t detect movement in a room for a specified period of time — essentially meaning the home owner is in another room or not at home — then the integrated system can dim or turn off lights and adjust the temperature, reducing energy usage and saving the home owner money.
When discussing energy efficiency options with clients, remodelers should ask the following types of questions:
- Would you like to monitor energy usage and possibly decrease the cost associated with utilities?
- Would you like to reduce your home's energy usage?
- Do you anticipate upgrading your appliances or electronics in the home in the future?
- Do you have concerns about the long-term impact energy use has on the environment and sustainability?
Baby Boomers — A Large Population Segment With Plenty of Disposable Income
According to ImmersionActive.com, an Internet marketing group that focuses on baby boomers, 78 million people aged 50 and over control 67% of the country's wealth (as of 2001) and have $2.3 trillion in disposable income.
When working with these clients, especially baby boomers, remodelers should ask then:
- How important is it to you and your family to be connected?
- Do you want to store electronic data such as movies and photos of your grandchildren?
- Do you have elderly loved ones living independently who are in ill health or who require routine monitoring?
- Is an elderly parent living with you, or do you anticipate one moving into your home in the future?
- Do you anticipate children or grandchildren living in your home in the future?
Looking for Extra Opportunities? That’s Home Entertainment
The sale of movie tickets is dropping while video rentals and online streaming movies are on the rise. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Entertainment — which includes movies, music and gaming — is big business.
According to the box office data service, The Numbers, 310 movies with a combined gross of $5.7 billion were released in 1996. Ten years later, 809 movies were released with a combined gross of $9.2 billion. In 2008, 1,065 were released, but gross sales fell to $8.0 billion.
What caused the decrease? Increased DVD rentals and a surge in on-line rentals.
Companies such as Netflix and Blockbuster Online revolutionized the movie rental business. Also, while it used to take several months for a movie to be released on video, it now takes about 90 days.
The gaming industry is also having a tremendous impact on the economy, technology and the consumer market. According to Gamespot.com, the video game business grossed $11 billion annually in 2004, which was more than movie box-office sales that year. Three years later, annual sales topped $18 billion.
Like increasing energy efficiency and addressing the needs of baby boomers, accommodating clients’ movie and gaming entertainment needs — through dedicated space or reconfigured common space — represents a huge opportunity for remodelers that should not be overlooked.
CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association, is a founding sponsor in the Home Technology Alliance and an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home.
CEDIA members are established and insured businesses with bona fide qualifications and experience in this field. CEDIA serves as a source for electronic systems contractors (ESCs).