Are you thinking about remodeling your home in an eco-friendly but are not sure how to begin?
Here is a handy list of some things you need to consider and take care of when you decide to take the next step toward a green remodel.
1. Hire a green contractor
The first step in starting a green remodel is to hire the right contractor. This is someone who is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. They will know the best way to help in any green remodeling effort, including where to find green materials and can provide suggestions on how to make your remodel environmentally friendly. Even if they aren’t certified, you can still work with a conventional builder, but it will mean that you will have to pick up some of the slack as far as green materials and design. If they aren’t willing to work with you on your idea of a sustainable home, then it’s best to find someone who is willing to be more flexible. If you are having trouble finding a contractor in your area, you can use a national database of green contractors, designers, and builders. Additionally, you can ask for referrals to find local pros, or you can visit green buildings in your area and get recommendations.
2. Determine how green you want to be
A green remodel can range from just replacing your old appliances with more energy-efficient ones to installing solar panels, rainwater collection, water conservation systems, or a whole new wing made entirely of eco-friendly materials. Just remember that something is better than nothing. You might not have the budget or the desire to go completely green, but just taking a few steps will be worth it.
3. Use green materials
When choosing your materials, there are several things to consider, such as:
- Where are they sourced from? Try and find locally sourced materials for your remodel. It will make a huge difference in the carbon footprint because your goods won’t have transportation costs or waste.
- What are they made from? The type of material is just as important as the location. Some eco-friendly materials to incorporate into your home include bamboo and cork. Bamboo is non-polluting and sustainable, and cork is able to be harvested without killing the tree. If you are replacing insulation, try to incorporate straw-clay, which is highly insulating and sustainable.
- Are they recycled? Instead of using new materials, can you use recycled items instead? Try using reclaimed wood for floors and counters instead of new material. And use second-hand furniture instead of buying new pieces.
- What is their environmental impact? Use non-toxic versions of paint, caulk, insulation, and adhesives to reduce the amount of VOCs and chemicals that you bring into your home.
4. Make a budget
Green materials and high-efficiency appliances are often more expensive than the alternative. Be aware that a green remodel might have to be more limited in scope compared to a non-green one. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Reducing the size and impact of your remodel is a very eco-friendly approach. It saves on how much materials are needed for the remodel, which in turn saves on gasoline and transportation. It also reduces energy consumption because you no longer have to worry about heating, cooling, or powering the new areas of your home.
When designing your remodel on a limited budget, a good way to save money is by having rooms used for multiple purposes. A home office could also be a guest bedroom, or a laundry room might double as a pantry. If you have a relatively small budget, start by fixing the small stuff and making them energy efficient. Then you can move onto the bigger stuff when your budget expands. Keeping these tips in mind can help you move forward with the eco-friendly remodel of your dreams. Good luck!