What is Green Remodeling?
Green Remodeling is an all-encompassing approach that emphasizes making a home healthy, comfortable and efficient. Consideration is given to indoor air quality, energy conservation, resource conservation, reduced material waste and the use of products that are better for the environment (and for people).
Why Go Green?
It is easier on the earth, it lowers costs and it provides a healthier home in which to live. According to the Sustainable Building Industry Council (SBIC), housing alone consumes 20% of America’s energy. Homeowners who choose to remodel green can lower their energy consumption by30-50%. It is widely agreed that forests produce 40% of the Earth’s oxygen and that building supplies use 25% of its forests. Remodeling green by incorporating recycled materials or sustainable species will help homeowners to tread more lightly on the Earth’s natural resources.
Facets of Green Remodeling
The average home today utilizes systems for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and most homes are not built to be as efficient as they could be, all of which result in high energy consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy believes if current buildings were green-improved, they would use $20 billion less energy per year. Green remodeling puts strong emphasis on making homes as efficient as possible with modifications like energy efficient appliances and thermostats that are programmed to different temperatures for different times of the day.
Indoor Air Quality
There are many sources that contribute to the air quality inside a home. They include pollutants brought in from the outside, toxic chemicals existing inside the home, and the activities of the occupants that create pollutants. Major contributors are tobacco smoke, smoke from the burning of wood, coal, kerosene, toxic fumes from sealants or chemicals in cleaning products, lead paint, asbestos from insulation, damp carpets or fabrics and certain pressed-wood furniture products that release chemicals into the air. Green remodeling seeks to remedy these problems with solutions like better ventilation systems and using wood, paint and sealants that are nontoxic.
Reduced Material Waste and Resource Conservation
When remodeling a home, there is often a large amount of construction waste. This amounts to 136 million tons of waste annually, according to the EPA, which in turn makes up 20% of the waste in landfills. Green remodeling focuses on reducing this waste during remodeling and reusing materials whenever possible, as 85 to 90% of materials thrown out can be recycled. Using local materials, building with engineered lumber, and using recycling companies to remove waste are all ways this can be achieved during remodeling.
Overall green remodeling proves to be very beneficial for homeowners.
- Reduces operating costs in the home by increasing efficiency
- Conserves natural resources
- Increases the value of the home
- Improves indoor air quality and in turn, overall health
- Reduces waste
- Reduces emissions costs
- Improves quality of life
Ways to Implement Green Into Your Home
Green remodeling can be done in small ways and doesn’t have to encompass the entire home. It’s easy to pick and choose elements that suit each particular homeowner.
- Non-toxic paints and sealants
- Programmable thermostats
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Natural flooring
- Local building materials
- Natural fiber rugs and fabrics
- Recycled material roof shingles and tile
- Energy-efficient lighting
- Insulated hot water pipes
- Tankless water heaters
- Quality insulation
- Native plants for landscaping