Home remodeling for the 21st century is a bit more sophisticated, but it is much more practical way of living too, providing green solutions to homes that may not currently feature this component.
Fortunately, green remodeling is not always complex and can involve using some of the same materials found in your home. From a simple room update to a more comprehensive home addition, you can employ the following tips and tricks along the way.
1. Assess your needs. What type of home remodeling project are you looking at? If you are unhappy with a certain room, does it need to be gutted or simply updated? Green thinking will have you examining everything that you can possibly keep including the drywall, flooring, appliances, fixtures and counters. Consider what is still useful and if you still do not want it, find out how you can donate these items to Habitat for Humanity or to some other rehabilitation-oriented charity.
2. Make it better. These days, it isn’t the size of your home that matters, rather the use of it. Consider that larger homes consume more energy and are typically occupied by fewer people than a generation ago. You may discover that repurposing a room, such as a den and making it into a family room is a more sensible and cost-effective approach to home renovation. Consider also replacing or removing big bulky furniture with smaller pieces to create the effect of a larger home.
3. Invest with wisdom. As you plan your home renovation, consider carefully the materials that can be used. Instead of opting for the lowest cost and cheapest materials, go for those items that will last longer and will not need to be replaced as often. Also shop for appliances that are Energy Star approved, rated to use less energy and emit fewer emissions. Send your usable appliances to charity or post these on a Freecycle site to give away for reuse.
4. Go natural. Green living means natural living or something as close as possible to this. Start off with replacing all of your incandescent light bulbs with the newer and much more efficient light bulbs such as LED lights. These bulbs last longer and use less energy. Also, make use of natural light, by replacing heavy drapes with sheer curtains. Install skylights above upper floor rooms and hallways, use ceiling fans to move air around on those days that air conditioning is not essential.
5. Choose natural building materials. When you are ready to move forward with your construction project, natural building materials are less costly and much more environmentally friendly. In vogue these days are bamboo floors and locally available rocks, the latter offering a more distinctive and interesting look than traditional cut rock. Some people are now using straw bales as home building blocks while cotton is a proven and safe insulation material that will not irritate your skin.
6. Avoid toxic materials. Green living greatly decreases the chance that you will be exposed to toxic materials. Still, you may need to read labels and familiarize yourself with some of the terms used. House paint can especially be worrisome, but there are any number of paints that are free of volatile organic compounds such as benzene. If you need carpeting, Earthweave is a 100 percent sustainable floor covering that is biodegradable and entirely compostable. If you need new furniture, consider renewable materials including seagrass, abaca and rattan as recommended by Apartment Therapy.
Certainly, your green living considerations will be impacted by what you can afford. Still, unless you are looking at including solar panels, tapping geothermal energy or radiant flooring. Each of these items are good ones, but you simply may not have enough green to pay for a radical green overhaul of your home. Keep it sensible and you can still be on the road to sustainability.
The New York Times: Finally, Good-Looking Nontoxic Paint? — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/garden/11roadtest.html
Apartment Therapy: The 10 Best Green Upholstered Furniture Companies — http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/10-of-the-best-green-furniture-125345
Kelly Harris is an avid blogger and contributor to Eurodesignremodel.com, a leading kitchen and bathroom remodeling company in Baltimore MD.