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Americans Slow to Implement Green Alternatives

While more than half of the Americans who undertook home improvement projects during the second quarter of 2010 thought about using green alternatives, very few actually chose green or energy efficient alternatives for their projects, a survey has found.

For those who did choose an environmentally friendly option for their projects, window replacements were the most common selection. In fact, window replacements increased 81 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a study by ServiceMagic, a Website that puts homeowners in touch with pre-screened contractors who have been rated by customers.

According to the study, 64 percent of the service professionals who were surveyed reported that homeowners went with the environmentally friendly option less than 10 percent of the time.

The report looks at service requests that were made in the top 50 markets as ranked by the U.S. Census, and ranks the projects in terms of those with the highest increases and decreases over the past year. The markets are also grouped into regions.

In terms of remodeling, most people opted for work on their kitchens. Nationwide, kitchen remodeling saw a 93 percent increase from the second quarter of 2009. Air conditioning was another area that rose significantly over that period of time, particularly in the Great Plains (87 percent), Northeast (86 percent) and Upper South (63 percent) regions. Across the United States, air conditioning service requests were up 55 percent over the past year. However, requests for heating and furnace systems were down 18 percent from a year ago.

The news was not as good for plumbing service requests as it was for air conditioning. Remodeling professionals reported that many customers have decided to tackle bathroom renovation projects themselves, resulting in a 17 percent drop in requests in that area. This followed an increase over the past four quarters. Service professionals reported an increase in the number of smaller bathroom jobs (plumbing, tiles and countertops) that were part of a homeowner’s do-it-yourself project. Cost was cited as the main reason. It is worth noting, however, that 60 percent of the people who had renovated their kitchens said their bathrooms were next on the list.

The study was based on more than 1.6 million requests for household services in the second quarter of 2010, as well as results from a July 2010 survey of 1,264 homeowners and 533 service professionals.

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