Green building practices-AKA sustainable building-is a whole house building design and construction approach that saves on or reduces the homes use of resources. These techniques break down into five basic categories: site, energy, water, materials and air quality. This list can help you decide what aspects are best remodeled for going green, and which are not.
While remodeling, the entire site may or may not be changed, depending upon the level or remodeling. Second story additions can be suited to maximize for space allowing more room for nature in the surrounding yard. Another site feature that may be changed is orientation with the sun. South-facing homes and windows can benefit from this homes orientation.
Windows and doors greatly benefit from enhanced insulation. The same goes for your home. Spending that extra buck on insulation for the home goes far in energy savings. Costs can be recouped in just a few years. Don’t forget that roofing materials count as insulation too.
Appliances and HVAC equipment are often upgraded to energy efficient models during a green remodeling project. These are easy ways to recoup fast cash back from energy savings.
Its not just about installing low flow toilets and aerators on the faucets. It’s also about energy efficient water heaters, upgraded pool equipment and updated landscape irrigation equipment too. Don’t forget fix any leaking plumbing!
What you build with is one of the most important areas of building green. Are you using sustainable lumber? Has the material been recycled? Can it be recycled? Is it local? Does it last a long time? These are all important questions that need to be addressed before you buy the product.
Indoor air quality is one of those things you don’t think about when you remodel. But many products leave behind year’s worth of toxic air inside the home. Off-gassing from VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) occurs in homes with toxic paints, stains, sealants and caulks. Even MDF, OSB and plywood’s of all types can contain formaldehyde. Cheap cabinets are especially notorious for formaldehyde off-gassing. Look for products with NO VOC’s!