More than ever before, homeowners are becoming increasingly concerned about the ecological footprint that they, their workplaces, and homes have. The shift towards green homes has also been aided by rapid advancements in technology which has made it very affordable indeed. With homeowners, especially the millennials, becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact, they are making terms like energy-efficiency, sustainability, and recycling centers to the process of home building and remodeling. Some green home remodeling tips:
Conduct an Energy Audit
Before commencing any major home improvement activity focused on green practices, it is vital that the current performance of the home is established. When you have doors and windows leaking air, appliances that are outdated, and HVAC equipment that is inefficient, it is important that they are set right to make the home efficient and eco-friendly. According to forbes, as much as 40% of the typical home energy bill is attributable to heating and cooling costs. Performing an energy audit will help to establish how energy-efficient your home is and professionals will clearly demonstrate how you can increase the energy efficiency of your home. It is not uncommon for the energy companies to subsidize the audit by offering and installing free energy-efficient lighting equipment, water saving devices, and even thermostats that are programmable.
Install Eco-Friendly Windows
One of the biggest problems in making home eco-friendly is windows that leak out the air that you spend so much money to heat. If an inspection reveals significant leakage of air through the windows, you should seriously consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows. Making a well-informed choice is important because it is quite possible for you to spend a lot of money and not achieve the desired results. While cellular PVC and vinyl are often offered as an energy-efficient material for windows, the production process releases poisonous chemicals into the atmosphere. While aluminum and steel are recyclable metals, they are not energy-efficient as they offer very little insulation. Typically, the best choices are window frames made from fiberglass or sustainably harvested wood used along with double-pane glazing.
Select Locally Sourced Materials
When you are going green, it is simply not enough to choose an eco-friendly product because you also need to find out if it has been hauled halfway around the world to reach you because then it would have a really large carbon footprint. Buying local products for your bathroom remodeling Long Island has multiple benefits; not only is less energy spent to ship the products but also it helps to support local communities and usually, the local materials suit the local conditions far better than an alien import. Local materials tend to more climate-appropriate so their use is usually more energy-efficient.
Use Low VOC Paints
Everyone would have experienced the smell of freshly applied paint and crinkled their noses at encountering the various chemicals these paints release into the home environment. These chemicals are called volatile organic compounds or VOCs and are typically derived from the petroleum-based solvents used to manufacture them. When you switch to low VOC paints that substitute water for petroleum, you automatically reduce your exposure to the poisonous emissions and also reduce the demand for petroleum, which is a non-sustainable resource. Usage of low VOC paints is perhaps one of the easiest things when it comes to making your home green.
Ensure Your Home Is Properly Insulated
Conducting the energy audit would have revealed if your home was not being able to retain heat due to lack of insulation in the walls and attic. Installing a double wall can be one of the most efficient ways of protecting your home from loss of precious heat, especially when you also inject cellulose into the wall cavity. This method allows the existing insulation to be retained and some states even offer handsome rebates to homeowners doing this while remodeling their homes. A properly insulated home will require much less heating and cut down the consumption of precious non-renewable natural resources.
Adopt a Passive Solar Home Design
Harnessing the power of the sun is one of the biggest ambitions of green projects but the cost of solar panels has always been a big deterrent though, in recent years, the cost has dropped significantly. With a passive solar design, there is no need to install solar panels. It is actually a method of using the power of the sun to your advantage in such a way that you are able to block it out during summer while using it to heat your home naturally in winter. All you need to do is to plant seasonal trees that allow the light in during the winter while blocking it in summer. Other steps include installing smart blinds that sense the change in the light and temperature and open or close accordingly. If you live in an area receiving bright sunshine, fixing solar films on the window panes can make HVAC operations far more efficient. Similarly, installing awnings or window overhangs can prevent direct sunlight from warming up the home. If you have the budget for installing solar panels, do so because you can achieve breakeven in less than 10 years.
Replace Old and Energy-Inefficient Appliances
Spending a few thousand dollars on new HVAC equipment or a refrigerator may not seem to be a particularly eco-friendly act, however, if by doing so you can save a larger amount due to better energy-efficiency, it may actually be a smart thing to do. You need to bear in mind that old appliances were never intended to be efficient and on top of that age and use would have further reduced its efficiency. Your energy audit should pay great attention to the energy being guzzled by large electrical appliances like the refrigerator, air-conditioning, dishwasher, stove, washer/dryer, etc. When you replace do not forget to choose models rated with Energy Star.
For ensuring that your home remodeling is eco-friendly, you should pay attention to each and every component of your house to find out its green potential. Try to use as less energy as possible by using solar power, reducing energy wastage and try to minimize your carbon footprint by going local and using sustainable materials.