Thinking to renovate your home? Please do consider going green. Not only do you help to protect the planet through the utilization of eco-friendly green materials, but you will also save a lot of money in the long run. Although the upfront costs of a green home renovation can be a bit higher, owners are going to profit later from lower utility bills and reduced maintenance costs. In conclusion, going green benefits both the environment and your own pocket.
What is exactly a green home? This expression means a substantial reduction of the environmental impact of your house through the utilization of a set of purposely designed strategies, technologies and materials. These range from the use of building materials that contain recycled content to the adoption of some tricks to save energy, like weather-stripping to insulate windows and doors.
According to the principles of the circular economy, every object should be recyclable or made out of recycled material. Let’s try to turn waste into resources, so that the final amount of waste is reduced and natural resources are preserved. And if you need to utilize pristine materials, you should check that they have been obtained in a sustainable way. For wood, there is a specific certification of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that assures users that your wood was sustainably harvested. Other important certifications are ISO 14001 (Environmental management Systems) and WaterSense (for items like faucets, valves, etc). A list of them can be found here: https://www.wbdg.org/resources/green-building-standards-and-certification-systems.
The distance between the building to renovate and the source of the materials should be minimized as much as possible. This helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to cut down on costs. A good strategy is to buy from local companies. You give a hand to the local economy that way, and in addition you get much more control of your suppliers.
Energy and resource saving is at the core of any green home and the real way to profit from your green renovation. In order to save energy, it is necessary to insulate very well your house by filling holes and drafts and by placing weather-strips all around your window and door frames. Old bulbs must be replaced with LED lamps, and appliances must be in the highest energy class or qualified for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label. Window single panels should be replaced with double or even triple panels, as double panels have a high insulating power and pay for themselves in energy savings in a few years. For further information, please read our articles “How and why to improve the energy efficiency of your house”.
Are there any other advantages from a green home? Actually, it is not only a matter of emissions and money saving. Green homes are also healthier, as they incorporate safer building materials and provide you with cleaner indoor air than traditional housings. For some categories of people (for example who suffers from some specific allergies) a green home could be the only choice. Therefore, some toxic materials like formaldehyde or certain type of plastics are forbidden in your home renovation. Naturally, this constrains you to choose some specific pieces of furniture and avoid certain kinds of dyes and plastics.
In conclusion, you have to take care of at least three main areas, in order to make your home renovation really green: recyclability, energy saving, indoor health. And, if you wish, you can get your green home certified. The certification is issued by the US Green Building Council (http://www.greenhomeguide.com/green-homes) that follows the guidelines and standards of LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, https://www.usgbc.org/leed), the main of its kind in the US.
Making your home renovation green is pretty easy today because of the huge availability of earth-friendly building materials and consultants and contractors who are experts in energy and resource efficiency.
Photo credit: http://www.eshield.net/green-contractors.html