If the freezing temps this winter have you cooped up inside, thinking about ways to improve the walls (and floors, ceilings, windows, etc.), keep in mind there are many green principles you can adopt when planning a home remodel. In fact, renovations are the perfect opportunity to increase your home’s energy efficiency and sustainability, using the following materials and techniques.
Reclaimed Wood Floors: Reclaimed wood is both beautiful and environmentally-friendly, as the use of reclaimed wood preserves our trees and forests. You can use reclaimed timber to create gorgeous flooring, table tops, cabinets, wood beams, doors and even stairs. Here are a few other ways to use salvaged wood in your home remodeling project.
Solar Saving Materials: Porous building materials such as concrete, brick or plaster will soak up the sun’s rays during the day, and release warmth at night. The use of these building materials will naturally keep your house warm, without adding expensive solar panels or expending extra energy and CO2 to artificially heat your home.
Eco-Friendly Countertops: There are so many green materials to choose from when redoing kitchen or bath countertops. From recycled glass (which diverts glass from waste streams and reduces emissions produced in cement manufacturing) to recycled paper, there are a number of products that can be the sustainable solution to your kitchen remodel.
Energy-Efficient Windows: If you’re replacing windows, make sure they are double-paned, weather-stripped and caulked to keep warm air in and cold air out (or vice versa during the warmer months). If your windows aren’t up to green standards, you could be wasting much of the cool or warm air your AC or heating system creates.
Low or Zero-VOC Paint: Stinky, toxic paint has come a long way and now it’s easy and inexpensive to find paints for your home that contain few or no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. In addition to emitting toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, VOCs have been associated with health issues including nausea, dizziness and respiratory issues.