“Green” remodeling is a growing trend with environmentally conscious homeowners and renovators. You should know, however, that without formal building codes and definitions, many different practices are called “green” and not everyone agrees.
Going “green” can bring health benefits and reduced costs, but it’s not likely to bring higher prices to homes on the market. Environmentally friendly designs are most useful for people who plan on living in the home or have a market for people to whom it is a perk.
The costs of utilities can be affected tremendously by proper design. High efficiency appliances, especially furnaces and air conditioning units, waste less energy and reduce your electric bill each month. Toilets and dishwashers that use less water also help.
Passive systems can be installed to reduce the need for electricity. Solar panels can heat water, your home, and provide electricity. At least one firm also uses solar panels and fiber optic cable to bring natural sunlight into your home.
Housing materials that are recycled make homeowners feel better, reduce the impact on the environment, and may be of better quality. Beams are being created from compressed recycled wood that are stronger than regular boards. Metal roofs help cool homes and do not require tarred shingles, which can release chemicals into rainwater falling off them.
Gardeners and landscapers have a role as well. By selecting plants that require low amounts of water you can avoid having to water your plants through the summer. Rain water collected into a system can provide all your plants or garden needs through the summer.
Renovating your home to be more environmentally friendly does not necessarily bring increased costs. According to one source a large kitchen remodel of $100,000 only included $350 of additional costs because of green materials.
Materials are not hard to find. There are listings of “Green” contractors on the Internet as well as materials.
Home Depot recently began a project to educate the public about products that are recycled or otherwise environmentally friendly. The products, which have been certified by a third party, have been available for some time but homeowners are only now learning about them and showing interest. Products are also being featured in conventions and trade shows such as “Remodel Green Midwest.”
Health risks can be reduced or eliminated with these products. Many major manufacturers are making paints with lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can reduce indoor air quality and be harmful. Choosing a floor created from renewable sources often means better air quality as well. Renewable wood floors look beautiful and can add value to the home as well. Insulation can be installed that is created from soy or other natural products that increase the efficiency of your heating and don’t bring in the irritants.
With energy costs rising consistently improving your home to require less energy and generate less waste is a good financial move as well as a way to save resources for future generations.