Three Home Improvement Innovations

Induction cooktop that uses magnets to create heat.

Photo: Summit Appliance

Cooktops that use magnets to generate heat. Lawn trimmers without wheels. Dishwashers for outdoors.

Innovation is happening all over home improvement. It’s inspiring to us here at to see companies invest the best of their creative energies to address home improvement needs. We know our readers invest a lot of time and energy in their do-it-yourself projects, after all. But how do you sort through the ever-growing number options?

Here are three trends that Bob has followed throughout his career. We think they are particularly relevant today, and focusing on them is a good way to make the most of your time and budget:

Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design

From photovoltaic roof shingles in the Habitat For Humanity TV project, to air quality improvements in Babyproofing the House, to Bob’s new Building Green Web series, Bob has focused on eco-friendly solutions as a way to help the environment and save money at the same time.  Learn about what you can do for sustainability in this video of how a Georgian Colonial house was rebuilt after extensive mold damage.  See how architect Allen Shope’s earth-bermed house, built into a hillside, saved energy and lowered utility bills.

Adaptive Reuse

The past may prove a beginning point for the present.  In the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, Bob converted an abandoned warehouse built in the mid-19th century into a modern home.  A shipping container was repurposed into a home; read here about how this transformation was accomplished.   To learn more about how to salvage the old for the new, see:

New Technologies

The latest technologies often enhance convenience, improve durability, and/or are eco-friendly solutions.  Bob created a “connected home” in his Vermont Farmhouse project using advanced home wiring technologies.  New construction approaches allowed the laying of a concrete foundation in the Building An Addition project, saving time and money. For the latest in technologies for three popular areas of the home—kitchen, bath, and outdoors—check out: