Changing the World One Room at a Time
What is “Green” Remodeling?
Green remodeling is an all-encompassing approach to remodeling that emphasizes making a home
healthy, comfortable and energy efficient. Green remodeling is becoming more popular as homeowners consider health issues, skyrocketing energy costs, as well as preserving Earth’s natural resources. The idea is to “change the world, one room at a time,” says David Johnson, author of a recent book on green remodeling.
Why Go Green?
According to the Sustainable Building Industry Council (SBIC), housing alone consumes 20% of America’s energy. By remodeling green, energy consumption can be reduced by 30-50%. NARI President Everette Collier states, “Remodeling Green offers every homeowner the opportunity to reduce home energy demands, lessen home maintenance costs, and increase comfort. Remodels are increasingly exploring green remodeling principles for their overall value for their clients and for the sake of the environment.”
Facets of Green Remodeling
The average home today utilizes systems for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Most homes are not built as efficiently as they could be, all of which results in higher energy consumption. The US Department of Energy believes if current buildings were green-improved, they would use $20 billion less energy per year. Green remodeling puts s strong emphasis on making homes as efficient as possible with modifications like energy efficient appliances and thermostats that can be programmed at different temperatures for different times of the day.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
There are many sources that contribute to the air quality inside a home. They include pollutants brought in from the outside, toxic chemicals existing inside the home, and the activities of the occupants that create the pollutants. Major contributors are tobacco smoke, smoke from the burning of wood, coal, kerosene or other such substances, toxic fumes from sealants or chemical fumes from cleaning products, lead paints, asbestos from insulation, damp carpets or fabrics, and certain pressed-wood furniture products that release chemicals into the air. Green remodeling seeks to remedy these problems with things like better ventilation systems and using wood, paint and sealants that are nontoxic.
REDUCED MATERIAL WASTE AND RESOURCE CONSERVATION
When remodeling a home, there is often a large amount of construction waste. This amounts to 136 million tons of waste annually, according to the EPA which in turn makes up 20% of the waste in landfills. Green remodeling focuses on reducing this waste during remodeling and reusing materials whenever possible.
Benefits of Green Remodeling
- Reduces operating costs in the home by increasing efficiency
- Conserves natural resources
- Increases the value of the home
- Improves indoor air quality and in turn, overall health
- Reduces waste
- Reduces emission costs
- Increases productivity of occupants
- Improves quality of life
Ways to Implement Green Into Your Home
Green remodeling can be done in small ways and does not necessarily have to encompass the entire home. It’s easy to pick and choose elements that fit each particular homeowner.
- Non-toxic paints
- Programmable thermostats
- Energy efficient appliances
- Natural flooring
- Local building materials
- Natural fiber rugs and fabrics
- Recycled materials (roof shingles, tile, carpet, etc.)
- Energy efficient lighting
- Insulated hot water pipes
- Tankless water heaters
- Quality insulation
- Native plants for landscaping
Thank You For Reading More About Green Design:
ADAPTED FROM “GREEN REMODELING 101” BY GWEN BIASI AND STEPHANIE MANOLA OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE REMODELING INDUSTRY. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION BY NARI