Green Remodeling

Greening Your Home When Remodeling

Updating or remodeling your home in the near future? Did you know that 72% of consumers report energy efficient features in a home would influence their purchase decision? This may be the perfect opportunity to make it “greener”. Many people are staying in their houses longer. Utility costs keep rising. Reducing energy consumption, improving home efficiency and helping our environment are all benefits of going green. If you have an older home, consider incorporating green into your next remodeling project. Remodeling in a green way will help you to begin saving energy, the environment, and money.

Professional remodelers can use technology, smart design, and construction elements in your home to reduce the negative impact on the environment. When contractors do this, they also increase energy efficiency, conserve water, recycle products, use sustainable products and improve indoor air quality. Green homes use less energy, water and natural resources than typical homes. They create less waste and are healthier for those living inside of them.

Remember that green remodeling is designed to save money in the long run. Green products and methods are built for increased durability, meaning they last longer and often perform better. It also means these improvements can save you money on gas, water and electric costs. In addition, value is added to your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers in the future.

Here are some sensible tips for remodeling the green way:

Don’t just throw away all the materials from demolition.
“Deconstruct” and salvage the building materials. Cabinets, lights and fixtures could be saved and re-used, sold or donated. Lumber, steel and flooring can often be recycled.
When selecting new materials, choose environmentally friendly products.
Flooring materials are often made from recycled materials. Water saving faucets and toilets are a great way to save money. Look for Energy Star rated appliances. Use automatic lighting controls to save on energy costs. LED lighting will use less energy and last longer.
Consider replacing your existing heating and cooling systems with higher efficiency models.
Up to 50% of a home’s energy cost goes toward heating and cooling. Install a water heater insulation blanket. In 10 years, this could save up to $200 in costs.
Insulate and seal air leaks while remodeling.
Insulate air ducts and pipes in crawl spaces. Insulate basement walls. Be sure to seal leaks along exterior walls or attic areas. Maintain or add attic insulation, especially in older homes. Use vapor barriers to help save heat and moisture.
Use paints with low VOC and water based formulas.
This will reduce potential health risks when remodeling. Check your local hazardous waste locations for paints that could be used in your project. These are often free or low cost.
Install ceiling fans to move a greater volume of air with less power by taking advantage of advanced motor features and design.
Some models also incorporate CFLs for even greater energy savings. In the summer, you could save up to 40% in cooling bills by setting the thermostat higher. In the winter, you could also save up to 10% on heating bills by setting the fan on low speed and gently circulating the warm air down that has risen to the ceiling.
When replacing or adding windows, choose windows with a U-Factor of 0.35 or less.
The lower the U-factor the better, since it measures heat transfer throughout the whole window unit. Low Emissive (Low-E) windows help reduce your energy bill up to 15%, by lowering the way that the windows transfer heat, and they reduce fading by up to 75%.
More than half of all household hot water is used in the bathroom (including tub baths).
About half of all hot water usage goes to showering and bath sinks. Low flow fixtures are an excellent, cost effective solution in any bathroom. In the average home, toilets make up for almost 30% of indoor water use. This figure can be cut in half by switching to post-1994 toilets.

There has never been a better time to qualify for all the available tax credits and rebates for energy efficient upgrades. Visit www.rechargecolorado.com for a comprehensive list of available incentives.

While green remodeling is not a new concept, green materials are more readily available, they are better, and much more competitive in price, than in the past. Choose a qualified professional contractor or supplier with knowledge of green remodeling to help discuss the options and to maximize your investment. Visit the Home Builders Association of Northern Colorado at www.nocohba.com or www.northerncoloradoremodelers.com for more information or a list of qualified professionals.

Submitted by Mark R. Kessler, president of Kessler Construction Co. Inc., 5809 Wright Dr., Loveland, CO 80538. Mark is currently serving as chairman of the HBA of Northern Colorado Remodelers Council. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.