If you’re planning to tackle a remodeling project, keep in mind that it’s an excellent opportunity to make use of all of the green options available today. When doing so, make sure that you are adding green elements that are both practical and sustainable. Below, we’ve listed some ways that you can remodel using a greener way of thinking.
- Use zero-VOC paints. VOCs is an acronym for volatile organic compounds. They are unstable, carbon containing compounds that rapidly vaporize into the air. They are both harmful to the environment and to those who come in contact with them. Some health issues include breathing problems, headache, burning or watery eyes, and nausea. As paints containing VOCs dry, the chemicals are released into the air. For indoor situations, the problem is compounded. By using non-VOC paints, you are benefiting both the environment and those who live in the home.
- Design rooms to serve more than just one purpose. Not only is it more efficient to have multipurpose rooms in the home, it saves space and money. Look at it this way, why heat or air condition and extra room if you don’t need to?
- Think of the materials in the home that you will be removing during a remodel. Are some of them recyclable? Together, construction and demolition account for roughly 1/3 of all residential and commercial waste. The truth is, much of this material can be recycled or repurposed, thus saving the environment and possibly a lot of money for somebody down the line who could use it.
- Seek out the many incentives available were energy use is concerned. Both the government and the utilities may offer substantial savings towards the purchase of high-efficiency appliances.
- If appropriate for the project, consider installing radiant heat flooring or a high energy efficient HVAC system.
- Find creative ways of allowing light into the home, saving big on lighting costs down the road. Skylights, tubular lights and tunnel lights are very effective at bringing natural lighting into otherwise dim areas of the home.
- Consider re-facing kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them. This could save money and landfill space. If you need to replace the cabinets, consider using wood products that were obtained by sustainable forest management practices. Likewise, choose countertops that were either manufactured from recycled material or from sustainable materials.
- Use of reclaimed wood from old barns, homes and other buildings can have quite a stylish impact on the look of the home. The environmental benefits are obvious.
Building green provides one of those few occasions where it’s possible to both help the environment and in many cases, save money. The EPA has a green building website here. It includes a lot of helpful resources for homeowners and contractors interested in incorporating green building concepts into their remodeling projects.