Green Remodeling Basics

Green remodeling, just how elusive is it?

Green building and energy efficient are not the Holy Grail. You bet there are some measurable efficiency- standards out there that could make your socks roll up and down, but that’s in a different post.

This post is of the super basic variety. I want to give you a few ideas how you can tune-up your own home to achieve a level of ‘green‘ that you can measure in your monthly utility bills as well as the ‘Honey-do-you-feel-a-draft-in-here‘ factor. Some of these tips are easily done by an unsupervised 5th grader, but they gradually become more complex in nature to where hiring a qualified contractor might be a reasonable option.

These are very simple remodel ideas and tips that I won’t expound upon in this post, but hope to get you thinking about what you could do initially to make your home more comfortable and less costly to operate:

  • Plant deciduous trees for summertime shade
  • Low or No VOC Paints
  • Replace worn weather-stripping on doors and windows
  • Install a storm door
  • Caulk around windows and doors
  • Operate window coverings to insulate windows when that room is not in use
  • Consider insulative shades
  • Use ceiling fans to distribute air in winter and summer (Remember to reverse the fan direction for winter)
  • Purchase Energy Star appliances when replacing old models
  • Low flow / dual flush toilets when replacing old models
  • Consider a Hyroright dual flush converter for existing toilets
  • Install water heater timer
  • Consider tankless water heaters
  • Install Programmable Thermostat
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED
  • Beef up insulation levels
  • Replace single pane windows
  • Air seal garage

Of course, if you are replacing flooring, cabinets or countertops, be sure to ask about green products, often times they are no more expensive that those with toxic chemicals in the mix.

And finally, I highly recommend starting with a blower door test and possible infrared scanning to determine where your greatest heat losses occur. This will demystify the draft-factor… you’ll know exactly where it’s coming from and will be able to head it off at the pass with a tube of acrylic caulk. Blower door tests run about $300 and are worth every penny. If you need help finding a contractor to perform these tests, give us a call, we’ll tell you who we use.

Oh and one other thing, some energy efficient improvements you do to your home qualify for the federal tax breaks, be sure to ask the vendor about that before purchasing.

Good luck!

Posted on November 05, 2009

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