Higher Cost Options
Of course, if your budget allows, you may wish to really go green and look at a Passive House retrofit. Today’s highest energy standards are represented by the Passive House standards of energy consumption. Ways of implementing a Passive House retrofit can include: installing a whole-second skin of insulation to a home, thus eliminating thermal bridging, installing super-high efficiency windows, extreme weatherization, and installation of mini split ductless heat pumps in conjunction with a Heat Recovery Ventilator. Most local utilities now offer rebates for the installation of high efficiency systems (check with your local utility to get specifics) . As with lower cost options, the cost of a Passive House retrofit varies greatly, depending on the home and the complexity of the retrofit, it can cost upwards of $100K. However, when implemented, a Passive House retrofit can reduce heating consumption by up to 90%! From low-cost alternatives to full energy retrofits, there are many ways you can make your home more energy efficient and thus more sustainable.
The type of materials selected for a remodeling project is also a large part of the carbon footprint of your project. Material aspects to take into consideration for green remodeling projects include: the longevity of the materials, whether or not materials are locally made or harvested, the sustainability of the harvest, low-replacement type products (such as long-lasting tiling), high-efficiency fixtures and appliances, as well as materials that are produced from reclaimed or recycled materials. Choosing low volatile organic compounds (VOC) finishes is another key material aspect which dramatically affects indoor air quality VOCs can be emitted by many remodeling products from paints to cleaning supplies to building materials to new furnishings. VOCs are a known air pollutant and also have adverse health effects for those living in the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the concentrations of VOCs are ten times higher inside the home than outside.
In the end, your remodeling project will be full of many decisions that will make your home unique. Choosing to go green will be one of the most rewarding decisions you will make. The benefits to a green remodel continue beyond your own home and reach out to better the entire world. A LEED Accredited Professional, Green Building expert or Passive House Consultant will tell you that no matter what your remodeling budget, there’s a green option that will be right for you. Watch for ‘green washing‘ – companies who tout products being more green than they really are. Find a company that you’re comfortable with and who will help you select the most appropriate green measures for your personal budget, and you’ll be well on your way to going green.
See Green Home Remodeling Part I: Economical
Posted on October 13, 2009