If you are planning on remodeling your home, why not decide to go green? Not only will you be doing your part to help with the environment, but you will be increasing your property value as well. Here are the steps you need to take in order to plan an eco-friendly remodel.
1. Determine your project size
Are you planning on a full remodel? Just a room or two? Make sure you know how big you are going with your project. Consider that the first step in being green is to use very few new materials, and to reduce your waste consumption. Are you going to need all of that new space? If you are planning on extending your house consider what this will mean towards your energy use as well. You will need extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity. The new rooms will need to be furnished as well. Try to be aware of these extras costs and stay space conscious. If you really need the extra space, see if you can’t double up the new room’s utility, like an office that is also a workout area, or a pantry that is also used for laundry.
2. Plan your budget
Don’t stress about your remodel, but make sure you decide how much money you have to put into it. If you are committed to a green remodel, it might be a good idea to see if you qualify for PACE financing, which is a financing option specifically made for home and commercial improvement that offers several benefits over traditional loans, including fixed low-interest rates, extended payment plans, and the fact that it is considered a property assessment instead of a loan.
When creating your budget, keep in mind that green materials and high-efficiency appliances are often more expensive than regular materials. You may be forced to make concessions.
3. Hire a green contractor
When hiring out someone to remodel, check their credentials. You’ll ideally want to hire an architect or builder accredited in LEEDs (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). But even if they are not, you can make it work with a conventional builder as well. It will just mean that you have to do a little more legwork and research. If they are not familiar with the materials, you may have to hire a subcontractor yourself. If your builder is unwilling to try using the materials or techniques you suggest, then it might be worth it to find someone else who will.
4. Select your materials
If you are fully committed to going green, see if you can’t locally source your materials. It will reduce the carbon footprint of the items you use in your house. Also, try to use more environmentally friendly materials. If you are replacing the floor, consider using bamboo or cork. Bamboo is quick growing and carbon-neutral, while cork is able to be harvested from trees without killing them. Tiles are better for the environment than processed items like linoleum. Repurposed or reclaimed wood is eco-friendly and fits many design sensibilities like farmhouse or utilitarian.
Try to find non-toxic versions of paints, caulk, insulation, and adhesives to cut down on VOCs and dangerous chemicals that you don’t want to bring into your house.
5. Decide on how far you want to go
A green remodel to you might simply mean replacing your appliances with more efficient Energy Star ones, well-insulated high-efficiency windows, solar panels, better insulation, and an on-demand water heater. However, there are several steps you can take to go further if you wanted. You could furnish with only reclaimed and refurbished furniture, and salvaged fixtures. Or you could decide to implement rainwater collection. You could decide to install solar panels, or you might want to redo your lawn and landscape something ecologically friendly. How far you are willing to go is up to you.
By answering some or all of these questions, you should now be ready to remodel your home in a green and environmentally safe way.