There are more eco-friendly homes now than ever before. These properties use sustainable materials, minimize the use of resources and even save homeowners money. If you are preparing for a home remodel, consider getting on board with the eco-friendly movement, regardless of whether you consider yourself an environmentalist or not. The following tips make it easy to turn your home “green.”
Participate in an Energy Audit
Before you do anything else, have someone come out to your home to complete an energy audit. After an extensive examination of your property, the auditor identifies how much energy you are using each month and recommends simple ways to make your house more sustainable. Use their information during the remodeling process as a guide to ensure that you stay on track.
Select Eco-Friendly Materials
Once you start the planning stage of the remodel, you must decide what materials to purchase for the project. Look for low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, sealers and caulks. Avoid vinyl, since it is a particularly harmful plastic that is linked to health issues. Also, rather than using carpet or hardwoods, opt for cork, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring. Most carpets release volatile organic compounds. In addition, cork and bamboo grow much quicker than trees. For all other materials, seek out products certified by green organizations, like the Forest Stewardship Council.
Reuse and Recycle
Remodeling gets messy. Once renovations begin, a lot of materials and products make their way out of your house. To avoid seeing it all wind up in the trash, research to determine if there are any local businesses that can use your “waste.” For example, Habitat for Humanity is always on the lookout for salvageable building materials. Also, take the time to figure out what can be recycled and get it to the proper location.
Room by Room Recommendations
Every house is different, but there are a few green remodeling ideas that work in most spaces. In the kitchen, replace your appliances with Energy Star models. If the cabinetry is getting an overhaul, opt for formaldehyde-free products. Also, instead of granite countertops, consider recycled glass instead.
When constructing a new room, think carefully about how much space you should add. You don’t want to be wasteful. Make sure the room is properly insulated so as not to waste energy, and think carefully about how many windows to put in the space. More light shining in means that the room stays warmer in the winter. Add shades to help keep things cool in the summer.
Finally, in the bathroom, purchase and install a low-flow toilet. Also, look into flow reducers, which can help you save water in the shower and even when running the faucet. Recycled tiles are another solid purchase when renovating this space.
Not only is an eco-friendly remodel good for the environment, it can help you save money over time. Plus, when the time comes to list your house with a real estate company, you’ll often find that it is more marketable because of the “green factor.”