Feeling guilty about your eco-footprint? Then here are some simple ways you can go green during your next home remodel. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to sacrifice quality of life to have a positive impact on the environment.
A homeowner can choose to remodel for a variety of reasons, usually because they want to better optimize a space, add an additional bathroom, or simply update a specific room in the house. About 35% of home remodels involved the entire house.
If you're a homeowner who's about to undertake a remodel, then consider compounding your reasons for doing so by making your home, and the remodel, energy efficient.
There are several ways to go green with your next remodel, and here are some tips to help you along.
Don't Go for Square Footage
Everyone wants a bigger home with multiple bathrooms and a living room big enough to generate echoes, but that isn't inherently eco-friendly. You will need to think realistically about your square footage decisions, and beyond that, the impact that any oversized project might have. Thinking realistically about how much square footage you create means doing your best not to alter the house's footprint. In other words, try not to add any more square footage at all. If you can, utilize vertical space instead by raising your ceilings and/or lifting your attic. The other reason to be cautious of creating square footage, in a green sense, is because of the immediate and future impacts it will have. Right away, you're going to use more materials (which also costs more money). A larger space means also means a bigger area to heat and cool, which means more energy used, a.k.a the opposite of being eco-friendly. There are many ways to make your space feel bigger without making additions, such as natural lighting and light-colored paint.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Energy efficient appliances speak for themselves when it comes to green home living. There are various types of appliances that you can get, as well as some that may not inherently be energy efficient (on purpose). Of course, when you think of energy efficient appliances you undoubtedly think of things like ovens, microwaves, refrigerators, etc. Yet you can also install energy efficient windows, laundry machines, and even toilets. Yes, toilets can be energy efficient if you didn't know already. Actually, 91% of people undergoing, or who will undergo, bathroom remodels stated that they plan to use energy efficient toilets, according to a Houzz survey. So when you're purchasing your new appliances, look for the Energy Star logo.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
While it might seem contradictory to talk about using less material in one section and then tell you to use plenty of material in this one, it's for good reason. Your home's insulation keeps your home, well, insulated. Meaning the warm air in the winter and the cold air in the summer stay in the house, where you want them. Many homes have leaks throughout the structure that allow air to escape the house. This means a waste of energy and money. In order to keep the air where it belongs, you'll need to scan your home for any cracks, gaps, or holes where air might be leaking. You can do this yourself, although you might not be able to detect them all. Having your home inspected by a professional will ensure that the majority of leaks are found, and it typically only takes about two or three hours to complete. You should also have your home inspector look at your roof for any damage that might cause similar air/water leaks. Usually, you should have your roof inspected about once or twice a year, but it's highly recommended to do it during large remodels as well, especially if you plan to trim the attic. If everything is thumbs up from the inspector, you can start insulating. By adding the proper amounts of insulation, as well as plugging any gaps or holes, you can end up saving a lot.
A green home remodel isn't easy to do, and you should commend yourself for making the effort. Construction can often be wasteful, but with like-minded professionals and a good sense of priorities, you can have an eco-friendly home remodel — and energy efficient home.