Conservation is the buzz word of the twenty-first century. Citizens of the world are being asked to start thinking globally and being responsible individuals. It’s easier than you think to start at home with green remodeling.
Eco-friendly remodeling is getting to be a big business. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your present one, you might want to consider ways to conserve energy and protect natural resources.
We all want to do our part to save the planet, but going green has other benefits, too, such as saving money by powering your home “off the grid” or reusing rain water for gardening and lawn watering.
Creating a healthier, ecologically friendly home is going to require some extra research about products and construction techniques. Fortunately, you are not alone and “going green” is easier than ever before.
You have probably already been doing small things like recycling or buying energy saving light bulbs, so you have the right mindset. Think of green remodeling as a home improvement with an emphasis on energy efficiency, conserving natural resources and creating a healthy environment.
Thinking green has become easier, and thankfully you don’t have to sacrifice style for the sake of sustainability (in this context, sustainable means that you can meet the needs of the present without comprising the needs of future generations). Though green products are sometimes more expensive, it is worth the investment. Saving our environment isn’t just a theme for science fiction novels and it isn’t a fad that will be here today and gone tomorrow. In time it will be the norm and ecological awareness will be integrated into all standard designs, but for now you are one of the front-runners. You should be proud.
So, what makes a house green?
There are three basic principles applied to green building and green remodeling: energy efficiency, resource conservation, and health.
You may already know a lot about energy efficiency. For instance…
- You want good quality insulated windows that are designed to keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer months.
- Beef up the insulation in the walls and the ceiling to prevent air leaks that waste energy, i.e. weather stripping products.
- Examine and repair present heating and cooling system duct work.
- Choose energy and water efficient appliances.
- Design your rooms to be well illuminated by natural light instead of relying on electricity to it for you.
- At the same time choose energy efficient electric lighting and high quality fluorescent lighting.
- Provide summer shade. Hot sun striking southern and western exposures makes it difficult to keep your house cool. Plant trees, put in a trellis, install awnings or overhangs to keep the sun off from the windows.
Now, let’s talk about ways to conserve Resources. There are many alternative products available that use natural resources wisely, and sometimes it’s just a matter of using common sense.
- A small home uses fewer natural resources to build, furnish or maintain. Keep things simple, and don’t build big if you don’t need to.
- Don’t buy every new gadget on the market. They usually end up in a garage sale anyway.
- When you’re remodeling, don’t throw things away. Use as much of the existing structure, cabinets, flooring etc. as possible. Donate or recycle what you can’t use.
- When buying new items, look for salvaged building materials or choose rapidly renewable recourses such as bamboo, cork, and soy.
- Choose recycled and recyclable products and close the loop by recycling again when you are through with them.
- Choose good wood with FSC Certification (Forest Stewardship Certification) and buy local products (reduces transportation costs and supports local businesses).
- Conserve water by choosing water efficient dishwashers, low flow faucets etc.
- Make less waste, and recycle what you can.
Now, let’s consider health. What does green have to do with health? You probably aren’t aware of it, but a lot.
- Many commonly used building materials let off noxious fumes (such as formaldehyde).
- Indoor contaminants can pollute the house (paint, stains, finishes, glues, molds, mildews and the like).
- Watch for existing hazardous materials like lead and asbestos.
- Needless to stay, adequate air circulation is critical to a healthy home.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to think about when you’re considering remodeling green. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas. You can check out this book for more information:
Good Green Kitchens by Jennifer Roberts.