In recent years more homeowners are gravitating toward sustainable building solutions to reduce a remodel’s negative environmental impact. While up-front costs may be higher, ecologically friendly products also pay dividends to homeowners down the line.
Take Low-E Windows, for example. A transparent coat of metallic oxide is applied to the glass, rendering their emissivity lower than normal glass windows. While the cost may be 10–15 percent higher than traditional alternatives, it will halve your heat flow, leading to lower heating bills and happy wallets in the long run.
Another increasingly popular investment? Smarter insulation. Cast-in-place concrete walls save energy usually expelled in the process of pouring cement. And plant-based polyurethane rigid foam is heat and moisture resistant, with a higher thermal resistance rating than fiberglass and polystyrene to boot.
John Kraemer, of family-owned home building and remodeling firm John Kraemer & Sons, has witnessed the rise of these trends firsthand. “Our clients are all generally very interested in eco-friendly products and reducing their carbon footprint,” says Kraemer. “We have been getting a lot of requests for geothermal heating, solar power, low VOC paints, highly efficient furnaces, and extremely efficient insulation and windows.”
Kraemer says that in any given year their workload is typically 50/50 new builds to remodels, while the styles remain as varied as their clients. John Kraemer & Sons partners with local architects and designers. This collaboration—a cross pollination of ideas and styles, needs and knowhow—keeps the work new for Kraemer.
“I love that my job is different every single day, and I also love that I get to work with my brother and my dad every day as well. My dad, Gary, founded the company with his dad in 1978, and my brother Jeff and I represent the third generation of Kraemer’s carrying on the family business.”