Remodeling your home can be a daunting task in and of itself, but doing it an eco-friendly manner comes with its own set of unique considerations. Below are four tips to help you go green with your remodeling project.
1. Be cognizant of how much space you actually need.
If you’re planning on knocking out a wall, adding a room or otherwise altering the available space in your home, be sure take some time to assess how much space you’ll actually need. After all, that’s what becoming more eco-friendly is all about – realistically evaluating your needs, and then figuring out ways to accommodate those needs while minimizing excess waste. Keep in mind that any extra space you create will alter your energy usage due to the additional heating, cooling and electricity required to make the space livable; for this reason, aim for smart design and optimal energy efficiency when adding any extra square footage.
2. Use green materials.
The phrase “green materials” refers to building materials that are reusable, renewable and/or environmentally sustainable. Here are some examples of ways you can incorporate green materials into your remodel:
- Choose paints that have little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This will help improve air quality within the home, and reduce the number of airborne chemicals that have the potential to cause adverse health effects.
- Look for ways to reuse old materials in your renovation, such as reclaimed wood for flooring, salvaged marble for countertops, etc. Not only will this be less expensive than buying them new, but it will keep these materials from needlessly ending up in a landfill.
- Go for renewable flooring materials such as bamboo and/or cork, both of which come from natural plants and trees that have quick regrowth cycles.
- Installing solar panels on your rooftop is an excellent way to harness the power of the sun to provide your home with renewable energy.
3. Make water conservation a priority.
This can easily be done by switching to low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, as well as toilets that use a minimal amount of water per flush. You should also consider upgrading your dishwasher and washing machine to more energy-efficient brands that require less water per load. Speaking of appliances …
4. Consider replacing old appliances and electronics with new, energy-efficient ones.
Consider upgrading your refrigerator, clothes dryer, oven, computer, and practically any other appliance or electronics item to those that are more energy-efficient. Look for products that have the ENERGY STAR label, as this indicates that these items utilize less energy than their older counterparts. Not only does this help curtail inefficient energy consumption, but it also means a lower utility bill for you.
The above tips are a good starting point to help you achieve an eco-friendly remodel. A great way to determine which areas of your home will need the most attention in terms of “going green” is to take the free Get Efficient Home Energy Assessment offered by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. This easy-to-use online tool will help you determine how energy-efficient your home is (or possibly isn’t), and it will provide you with customized efficiency recommendations to help you discover which areas will need the most attention in terms of your remodeling project. Take the assessment today, and commit to going green!