Building With Recycled Materials
Remodeling a home is an opportunity to make fun decisions about the way your house looks, but did you know it is also a chance for you to lower your energy costs, increase your air quality, and make your home less expensive to maintain? 72% of consumers surveyed by the National Home Builders Association stated that energy-saving features would influence their home-purchasing decisions, suggesting that they would opt for green and sustainable options like low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient windows and appliances, and natural landscaping.
Greenscaping Your Kitchen
Your kitchen houses the majority of your home appliances, and choosing energy-efficient dishwashers, stoves, and refrigerators can make a huge difference in both your energy bills and your carbon footprint. Refrigerators manufactured today are 75% more energy-efficient than those from twenty years ago, and Energy-Star rated appliances are 25% more energy-efficient than government standards.
Granite countertops can be an elegant choice and hold up to heat well, but some consumers do not consider them sustainable because of quarrying practices, opting instead for counters of recycled glass or ceramic. Consumers also have a variety of options for sustainable kitchen cabinet refacing; looking for cabinet facing approved by the Forest Stewardship Council ensures sustainable foresting practices and formaldehyde-free adhesives.
Energizing Your Bathroom
One of the largest sustainability features of your bathroom may not even be located in that room: your water heater. Newer water heater models offer more internal insulation, which keeps your energy waste down and heats water more quickly. Even without a new water heater, investing in a jacket insulation wrap around your old one can bring energy costs down by 10%. Low-flow toilets use half as much water as standard flush ones; if you cannot afford to replace all the toilets in your home with high-efficiency toilets, consider just replacing the one you use most often. A low-flow showerhead with a charcoal filter not only saves water, but filters out chlorine that would otherwise be absorbed through the skin.
Slash Heating and Cooling Costs
Investing in a new HVAC system can be expensive, but it is one sustainable difference that will impact your entire home. New HVAC systems can even be set to work in zones, heating or cooling part of the house (like the bedroom and living areas), while leaving other areas alone while they’re uninhabited. New energy-efficient windows with air-tight caulking can also make a huge difference, as can opting for new insulation made from healthy, sustainable materials. Many states have rebates energy-efficient insulation, windows, and HVAC systems.
Naturalize Your Landscaping
Many remodelers focus on the inside of the house and neglect the outside, even though landscaping decisions can influence your energy and water usage. Naturalizing your landscape means you’re working with the geographic constrains of the region you live in — not against them. When you choose plants that are native to the area it means less fertilizers, herbicides,