8 Practical Green Remodeling Ideas
Did you know that remodeling is greener than building a new home? By considering green remodeling of your existing home you have already taken an important step toward a more sustainable home. You may have many doubts. You may think that if you don’t fix every problem, you haven’t really “gone green,” or that you have to spend a lot of money to make the greener choices. Every step you take is important. As far as money goes, environmentally-friendly materials do often cost more initially than their competition, but that gets less true every day and the initial cost is often negated by future savings. So, don’t sweat it. Simply consider the many green remodeling options available and do the ones that make the most sense to you.
8 Practical Green Remodeling Ideas
Choose salvaged building materials
During the deconstruction process of a home, many materials become available for use in other homes. You can find flooring, moulding, tiles, and much more. Not only are you reusing something old instead of purchasing new, but you are preventing something from going to the landfill. This is a fun and exciting way to do the right thing, though it takes longer than simply going to a store and choosing from the newest selections. This method is cheaper and more fun than buying new for those with the time and patience to use it.
Follow the space-saving trend on the internet
You have probably seen the wealth of space-utilizing upgrades and remodels that are taking over the internet. Well, this is an excellent use for that trend. Instead of adding on a new room and using a lot of materials to do it, you can make the space you already have much more open and usable with smaller, less drastic remodels. One of the most common ideas I see floating around is to use a staircase for added storage space. People make cubbies between the steps or in the space underneath just like it’s an extra closet. This could take the place of a closet, bookcase, or other large items in your home used for storage. Pocket doors and extra shelving space built into existing cabinets can also make your home feel much roomier. Find out more here: http://www.boredpanda.com/efficient-space-saving-design/
Build up rather than out
So you absolutely require another room? Instead of building out and putting more of a toll on the environment, add the room above.
Here is an example from This Old House:
Consider how much space you really need, not just how much you want. After all, truly eco-friendly means using as few new materials, and creating as little waste, as possible. “A lot of people think their house has to be big enough for a Super Bowl party, even if they’ll never use the space except for that one event,” says Michele. To add just two small bedrooms, a second bathroom, and a modest study/library, she and Michael chose to bump up the attic, raising the roof by a mere 6 feet and leaving the house’s footprint intact.
Replace appliances, plumbing, and lighting with efficient upgrades
Energy-efficient and water-saving appliances, low-flow toilets and faucets, and more can make a big dent in your bills and your resource usage. These items get cheaper and easier to find every day. Bear in mind though, if you don’t have to replace your old appliances and plumbing, there may be other ways to make more efficient use of the ones you already have. A faucet aerator, for instance, can make your existing faucet much more efficient for very little cost and no unnecessary landfill additions.
Make the passive solar upgrade
Passive solar design is a method using very old techniques to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home naturally. The sun is already heating your home, every day. The shade also keeps your home cool. Your home can waste this opportunity or take full advantage of it, and passive solar design aims to make sure you can take advantage of it. You can add additional windows, choose concrete floors, use brick walls and plaster, add an awning, or plant a shade tree. It can get a little complicated because there is a sort of science to it, so consult a professional to help you make the most efficient choices. It may require very little change, which is excellent for cost and the environment, but you want it to be done correctly to really give you the benefits you want.
Use environmentally friendly materials
When remodeling, products are going into the home and being manufactured to go into the home. What are they, and how do they affect the environment? Look into this and choose greener options for a significant impact. Choose authentic linoleum rather than vinyl or wood flooring from renewable sources such as bamboo rather than non-renewable sources. Use water-based paints and paints with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). If you want or need carpeted floors, pick a carpet that has been made with recycled or natural materials
Green your windows
If your windows need replacing, select one of the new greener options. If there is nothing wrong with your windows other than the fact that they aren’t “green” enough, it is probably best to stick with the ones you have. You could add a storm window to your existing window rather than purchase a new one, which reduces your demand on new products. Also, one of the benefits of new windows is the low-E tempering that is done today, but you get much of that same effect by purchasing a special window film for this purpose.
Use a tool to address your specific needs
The REGREEN residential remodeling program offers an excellent tool on their website. Select the project you want completed, the problems you want addressed, and the stage of your project for tips specific to your needs.
Green remodeling doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive deal. All you really must do is to inform yourself of your options and make the best decision available to you. Every step you take makes an important difference. It may be that you could make very small changes and have a big impact, or you may discover something that improves your remodeling plans in other ways.