Your own home is probably going your most respected asset, whether you got it latest or pre-owned. Over time, though, that asset becomes outdated, leading people to either buy a latest home, buy a more moderen used home, or remodel their existing home.
Remodeling your existing home cannot only be a satisfying journey, but it could also prevent money on moving costs and, when done accurately, make your property more environmentally friendly. This trend, referred to as green remodeling or environmental remodeling, takes an older, outdated home and brings it as much as the most recent eco-friendly standards.
How does environmental remodeling work? Learn all about it below.
What Is Green Remodeling?
Green remodeling — also called environmental remodeling — is if you consider the environmental impact when remodeling a house. Older homes built when energy efficiency standards were lower often offer enormous opportunities for green remodeling.
And since remodeling a house impacts the environment in some ways, you may take part in the environmental construction wave in quite a few ways while updating an older home.
The steps you may take to realize a green remodel include the ways you source materials, the sorts of materials you utilize, and the design of the remodel itself. With all these opportunities to handle your remodel in an ecofriendly way, chances are you’ll be wondering where to begin.
How Do You Remodel Eco-Friendly?
While you resolve to tackle a home remodeling project and accomplish that in an eco-friendly manner, you may accomplish that in some ways. Let’s review all of the environmental remodeling opportunities, from green constructing methods to sustainable constructing materials and beyond.
Select a Green General Contractor
Unless you’re a handy do-it-yourselfer, most homeowners depend upon general contractors to tackle their green home improvement projects. Certifications are relatively common in general contracting, including those in green constructing methods.
Search for a general contractor with a number of green constructing certifications, similar to a Green Certified Skilled certificate from the National Association of Home Builders or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or a Skilled Credential from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
These certificates are only pieces of paper, but they show a dedication to environmental construction. Nonetheless, the true proof is within the remodeling contractor’s work and the subcontractors they hire.
Start Your Environmental Remodel From the Design Phase
While the constructing phase is a large a part of environmental construction, it remains to be just one part. One other big part is the passive environmental remodeling that may occur in the course of the design phase.
This may include skylight placement to maximise natural lighting, limit energy use, and lower energy bills. It also encompasses heating, ventilation, and cooling duct routing, outlet placement, and window placement for optimum sunlight and natural heat within the winter.
It’s not only the interior design and constructing design that matters — landscaping design may also impact your green remodeling project. Tree placement, particularly, makes a giant difference.
Selecting trees with optimal shade creation in the summertime and placing them in the best place can significantly lower your cooling costs in the summertime. And selecting trees that also shed their leaves in the autumn and winter can maximize lighting and natural heat in your property, further reducing energy costs. This makes deciduous trees a wonderful option in your green remodeling project.
Weaving the design process into your overall environmental remodeling goals can set your project up for optimum success.
Get an Energy Audit
On top of the design process, you may further prepare in your green remodeling project with an energy audit. These audits — also referred to as energy assessments — perform quite a few tests to show inefficiencies in your property. This may include measuring your furnace’s efficiency, checking for door seal and window seal leaks, performing thermographic scans of your property, and far more.
After the energy audit, you’ll have a clearer picture of what needs updating to maximise your property’s efficiency after your environmental remodeling.
Use Sustainable Materials
One other solution to execute an environmental construction job is to make use of sustainable materials. These are constructing materials made out of renewable sources or which can be from sources which can be sustainably harvested. This may include green cabinets in your kitchen remodel, composite boards — made out of materials like recycled plastics — in your latest deck, bathroom fixtures, and even recycled insulation.
You can even ensure your environmental remodeling project is accomplished in probably the most sustainable way possible by deconstructing as a substitute of destroying materials. It could be satisfying to dive in with a sledgehammer and tear down all of the old materials, but you could possibly be destroying materials you may reuse. As a substitute, methodically deconstruct the old items and find anything reusable, similar to wood beams, fixtures, and more.
For those who can reuse nothing in your property, this doesn’t mean you’ve gotten to purchase all latest materials. You possibly can ensure sustainability by reusing high-quality items you may source locally from other people’s renovations or reuse stores, similar to Habitat for Humanity’s chain of ReStores. You can even find reusable items to suit a particular theme you’re targeting.
For instance, if you happen to desire a rustic-themed front room in your green home renovation, you may consider wood from a razed barn or driftwood. These might be quality materials and offer great alternatives to purchasing latest wood and artificially aging it.
Upgrade Your Appliances and Utilities
Old houses generally have outdated appliances and utilities, including water heaters, fridges, stoves, dishwashers, air-con, heating, and more. These old appliances are typically relatively inefficient and may impede green remodeling.
So, in case your environmental construction project has aging appliances and utilities, consider upgrading them to latest, more efficient ones. One example could be replacing your old tank-storage water heater with a more efficient tankless water heater.
The U.S. Department of Energy found tankless water heaters are 24-34% more efficient than tank-storage heaters in homes using 41 gallons of water or less day by day. Nonetheless, in those using as much as 86 gallons of water day by day, these tanks are still 8-14% more efficient. Plus, you may install a heater at each outlet and save much more.
You can even go for a solar water heater, which uses no electricity and may reduce water heating-related electricity bills by 50-80%. And if you happen to actually need to go green in your renovation, consider renewable energy by retrofitting the house with solar panels.
While the initial investment could also be high, the long-term payoff to the environment and your wallet might be well value it. In fact, your savings can vary with solar panels, depending on sun exposure, electricity rates, solar system size, roof design, and even your electric company’s billing methods. So, confirm all these before committing to a rooftop solar panel system.
Use Upgraded Constructing Materials
Just like the appliances and utilities in your property, the constructing materials you utilize can significantly improve the success of your environmental remodeling project. While removing old constructing materials, consider upgrading to latest, more efficient options. These can include:
- Low-emissive (Low-E) glass windows: These windows have a microscopic film coating that reduces heat transfer. This may reduce energy loss by 30-50%. Plus, you may have them customized to limit the daylight they let through. You should purchase all-new Low-E windows or add a Low-E coating to existing ones.
- Low-flow toilets: When low-flow toilets were made a law in 1994, the 1.6-gallon-per-flush limit often led to multiple flushes to work accurately. Nonetheless, these toilets now function as expected with latest flushing technology and redesigned passageways. In line with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), replacing old toilets with latest low-flow options can reduce water consumption by 20-60% and prevent $140 per 12 months.
- Low-flow fixtures: Along with low-flow toilets, you may integrate other low-flow water fixtures in your environmental remodeling project, similar to showerheads and taps. These not only reduce water consumption, but additionally they reduce water heating costs and lower your utility bills. Low-flow faucets can reduce consumption by 30% or more, and low-flow showerheads can lower consumption by 20%.
- Recent Insulation: You must replace or retrofit your property with latest insulation once every 15-20 years for optimal efficiency, depending on the R-rating — the insulation’s resistance to heat and cold. In case your green remodeling project is a 15- to 20-year-old (or older) home, consider replacing the insulation and dramatically improving the house’s efficiency.
A portion of the carbon footprint of a home remodel is in transporting materials. Fortunately, you may limit this by buying as many home construction materials as possible locally. Out of your countertops in your bathroom remodel to the lumber, you may source these materials nearby and eliminate the emissions created when shipping home constructing materials long distances.
On top of saving the emissions, you’re also helping support the local economy, so it’s a win on all sides.
What Should Be Kept in Mind When Renovating?
You’ll wish to keep several things in mind when performing a green remodeling project. Let’s review just a few of the more necessary and oft-forgotten parts of an environmental remodeling project.
Get Your Green Credits
Most of the upgrades you make in your green remodeling project may have federal, state, or local credits available. For instance, installing a low-flow toilet can net you credits in your utility bill or credit check mailed to you, and all solar panel installs through 2032 are eligible for as much as a 30% tax credit.
This may help offset some extra costs related to a green remodeling project.
Find Free Options
Reclamation and reuse are great ways to make your environmental remodeling project more cost-effective. When people offer these reclamation items, similar to wood from an old barn or old lumber from a disassembled garage, they simply want the scrap wood gone. This is a superb opportunity to get these materials totally free.
For instance, see if you’ve gotten a neighbor tearing down an old constructing with suitable reusable materials. In that case, you may give you the chance to entice them to supply the old materials to you totally free by volunteering to assist with the teardown.
While specializing in environmental health during construction matters greatly, don’t forget in regards to the cleanup. Confirm how your contractor plans to clean up your site and ensure it aligns with the green construction process in order that the whole process is eco-friendly.
Regardless of how green the method is, hazardous materials that may harm wildlife and human health, similar to asbestos and more, should be present. And also you’ll wish to ensure it’s being disposed of in environmentally secure ways and never just getting dumped in a landfill or left to leach into the groundwater.
Is It Higher for the Environment to Construct Recent or Renovate?
Research shows that renovation is best for the environment than a latest construct, and this is just compounded if you’re committed to an environmental remodeling project. It is because of the greenhouse gasses released in the course of the materials’ lifecycle, including all the things from extracting the raw materials from the Earth to transporting them to the physical construction process.
For those who’re remodeling as a substitute of constructing latest, far fewer net-new raw materials will go into the project. That is much more significant within the case of a green remodeling project that focuses on reusing and reclaiming materials.
Also, if you happen to’re replacing old water fixtures, like toilets, showerheads, and taps, with latest low-flow options, you’re limiting your consumption and retiring a high-consumption fixture. This implies a net reduction in overall consumption by the renovated home. In contrast, a latest home is an overall increase in consumption, albeit at a lower rate than an older home without upgrades.
Your Environmental Remodeling Project Can Make a Big Impact
While you tackle a remodeling project, you’ve gotten the potential to extend your property value and the property values in the encompassing area. Add the undeniable fact that you’re doing an environmental remodeling project, and the advantages are multiplied.
You and your neighbors enjoy improved values, and you may feel good knowing your renovations made this old home more environmentally friendly.
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