Before renovating their home, many people are now considering the environmental impact that their renovation will generate. There are things that can be done to make the renovation process safer for you and the environment. Let’s take a look at some ways to accomplish a green renovation:
Plan Your Eco-Friendly Renovation
You should consider the environmental aspects of your renovation when you are starting to plan for the project. Your first order of business is to hire professionals who are green-savvy. Your project will most likely require the hiring of a number of different professionals. These can include: a general contractor to oversee the construction duties, an engineer and an architect. Do a search on the Internet to find professionals in your area who have green renovation experience. It is a good idea to request sample photos of their work. If possible, visit some of their work in person to see if it is up to your standards. Find out what environmentally friendly methods they use during construction. They can inform you of the methods they use to reduce energy costs, lower consumption and how to make the most of natural heat and light.
You need to consider what is going to happen to materials that you are going to demolish. Find out if you will be able to re-purpose or reuse any of the waste materials. If you are not able to do this, try to sell or donate any materials that are still in usable condition. The last thing you want to do is to have reusable materials going into a landfill.
Choosing the Right Materials
You will want to find materials that have been certified by Cradle to Cradle, The Forest Stewardship Council or The Greenguard Environmental Institute. All of these organizations have been subjected to a thorough certification process to be able to test various materials for their environmental impact. You can also browse for materials in any salvage yards in your area. They may have some doorknobs, tiles, windows, doors or other items that you need for your renovation. They will also be only a fraction of the price you would pay if you bought them new.
Vinyl is harmful to the environment, so substitute it with linoleum whenever possible. You will want to use paints that contain little or no VOCs. VOC stands for volatile organic compound. There is a wide selection of non-VOC paints currently available. You should also use caulks and sealers that contain little or no VOCs. Consider using reclaimed wood, cork or bamboo instead of hardwood or carpet. Many varieties of carpets produce VOCs. If you have your heart set on buying a carpet, try to find one that has been certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label program.
Remodeling a Bathroom
A bathroom is a place where many eco-friendly ideas can come into play. Try to use tiles that have been manufactured by using recycled materials. You should install only low-flow toilets. You can use less water by installing flow reducers in your sink and shower.
If you are going to be building a new room as an addition to your home, use insulation in the attic and walls to stop any transfer of heat. You should also strategically place any overhangs, shades and windows to use the heat of the sun to your advantage.
Before a home renovation, one should think of the environmental, health and economic impact of using green products and practices for the renovation. You can save money, protect the environment and health of your family by choosing to use environmentally friendly products.
Bryan Bronson is a freelance home and construction blogger. He found great patio covers at Home Exterior Systems for his Houston TX home.