A home remodel is a huge commitment, even in one room. Displacing part or all of your home life and creature comforts, even with the promise of something better at the end, raises its own challenges. Keeping the focus on being environmentally conscious could initially have you thinking that its going to be another level of difficulty, not to mention cost. As it turns out, if you’re going to make the commitment to go green its best to consider “whole systems building”. In other words, the greenest project possible includes work on the whole house. This ensures that everything from proper flooring to attic insulation and the rest of the house work cohesively to create the most energy-efficient, health-oriented, comfortable and environmentally responsible remodel possible. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Cost: Green remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean higher initial costs. Most green building materials are not only competitively priced, they are often even cheaper than traditional items.
- Remodel time: Green building practices quite often result in quicker build times, translating into cheaper labor costs.
- Energy cost savings: Making your home energy–efficient utilizing green practices are guaranteed to reduce energy costs, both initially and in the long-term.
- Healthier living: Green remodeling places an emphasis on creating healthier indoor living areas, and utilizes long-lasting, low-maintenance building materials, while practicing environmental responsibility.
Face it, this is Florida and our AC is a top priority! Besides programmable thermostats, Florida-based HVAC specialists Senica recommends an air source heat pump as one of the greenest options for energy efficiency. In the winter, air source heat pumps move heat from outdoors into your house and do the opposite in the summer months, moving heat from your house and carrying it outdoors. Heat pumps also dehumidify the air more effectively than air conditioners do.
Senica also recommends the Carrier line of environmentally-friendly air conditioners with Greenspeed Intelligence that utilizes an adaptable Infinity gas furnace and heat pump, making the systems able to readily switch to anything between 40 percent and 100 percent of their capacity. Your home gets exactly what it needs to reach the desired comfort levels.
You can save water by installing low flush toilets, as well as low flow shower heads and faucets in bathrooms. You can cut water use at these fixtures by 60 percent or more by installing energy-efficient models. Consider installing solar power, that granddaddy of green remodeling, to heat your water, among its many other uses.
Green remodeling of your lighting can incorporate compact fluorescent or halogen bulbs. Swap them out for incandescent ones, as they use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times as long. Things like skylights, solar tubes, light shelves, and clerestory windows will all increase natural lighting in your home, so you won’t need as much artificial lighting. Plus, more natural lighting means a more comfortable, pleasing, and inviting home environment.
RECYCLING GREEN MATERIALS
There are many ways to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials into your green remodel. Old lumber, trim and door and window casings can all be reused if removed carefully. It’s all about reclaiming, where items like sinks, cabinet hardware and tile can be purchased from retailers who specialize in reclaiming and recycling old building materials.
Incorporate materials manufactured with recycled content. Whether you install cellulose insulation made from recycled paper and cardboard, recycled content ceramic tiles, or recycled content asphalt roofing, choosing building materials that incorporate recycled content helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, and reduces overall energy consumption since these products require less energy to manufacture. It is also recommended to use Forest Service Council (FSC) certified wood. Using only FSC-certified wood ensures that the lumber used in your green renovation has been harvested in a responsible, and sustainable manner, from flooring to framing materials.
If you’re ready to go green, J. Sweet Construction has 20 years of experience to help you do it cost effectively, with honesty and integrity. Give us a call to discuss ideas and possibilities. Together we can help the planet stay green for future generations.