Industry Trends: Homeowners Plan Projects to Lower Energy Costs and Prepare for Natural Disasters
High inflation and the fear of a recession are behind several trends the home improvement industry is experiencing in 2023. The desire to spend wisely and catch up on projects put on hold from last year is making low-cost home repair and maintenance projects a priority. Although a segment of homeowners continues to spend on expensive remodels of kitchens and bathrooms, others are making cosmetic changes that are more affordable based on their financial situation. Minor upgrades often include replacing lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, cabinet hardware, or leaky pipes. According to a survey by Thumbtack, a home services platform, homeowners plan to be busy.
- 9 out of 10 homeowners plan to improve their property
- 65 percent plan to turn their existing house into a “dream home”
The Inflation Reduction Act Supports “Going Green”
Projects that improve energy efficiency are also gaining traction. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, is a primary reason many Americans are committed to “going green.” The broad range of available tax credits motivates people to use the program. Homeowners with poorly insulated walls or old windows are more open to making these costly purchases. Thumbtack reports solar panel installations have risen 33 percent. The program also identifies smaller projects homeowners can complete better to manage their heat, electricity, and water costs. Installing a Smart thermostat, Smart showerhead, or low-flow toilet are projects many DIYers can handle without professional assistance. In addition to the Federal government, many states and municipalities offer incentives to promote energy conservation.
Lawn Replacements are on the rise
Some homeowners consider a lush, green lawn an essential element of a well-maintained home. But traditional properties require significant maintenance and upkeep to continue looking beautiful—which can be expensive. One solution is hiring professionals to mow, fertilize, aerate, and manage weed control. But many homeowners are replacing their lawns to reduce water consumption and dependence on harmful chemicals. There are alternatives to growing traditional lawns that are environmentally friendly for pollinators and other beneficial insects, birds, wildlife, and humans.
Coping with Natural Disasters
Depending on where you live, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires have become everyday occurrences. Homeowners risk losing their lives and property. David Steckle, a home expert at Thumbtack, says, “Unfortunately climate change and global warming are driving more maintenance and repair projects right now. From extreme weather to natural disasters, 42 percent of homeowners say they have undertaken a home improvement project due to climate challenges.” Property owners will make the improvements they feel are necessary to protect their homes from disasters and secure them against future events. Common measures include:
- Raising the level of properties in flood zones
- Putting hurricane windows in homes located in coastal communities
- Creating fire-resistant landscape barriers to manage wildfires
Allison Messner, CEO of Yardzen, a landscape design company, said, “From California to Colorado, wildfires have been intensifying at alarming rates, and with the high risk in wildland-urn=ban interfaces especially, many homeowners are looking for landscape design that keeps fire safety in mind,” Messner says. “While no landscaping is completely fire-safe, there are design practices that help reduce and slow the spread of wildfire through lots and neighborhoods.
What Retailers Can Do to Help
Store owners can support their communities by stocking products that help homeowners become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Provide options for replacing traditional lawns and offer classes to discuss products and techniques to help customers accomplish their goals.