Green Remodeling – Part I

What makes a remodel green?

Every Green Remodel is different, and each one requires individual solutions to its unique challenges and opportunities.  But they all have three things in common: energy efficiency, resource conservation, and healthy living environments. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the features that fall into each category.

Energy Efficiency

  • A tight, well-insulated building envelope
  • Efficient lighting and appliances
  • Efficient water heating and space heating and cooling
  • Passive solar heating
  • Natural ventilation
  • Ample daylight

Resource Conservation

  • Efficient use of construction materials to minimize waste
  • Materials with recycled content
  • Reclaimed materials
  • Rapidly renewable materials
  • Water-saving plumbing fixtures

Healthy Living Environments

  • Formaldehyde-free plywood and particleboard
  • Low-VOC or zero-VOC paints and finishes
  • Properly vented combustion heating equipment
  • Kitchen range hoods vented to the outside
  • Humidity control

There are a great many things you can do in each category to make your remodeling project greener.  But how many of them do you need to be able to call your remodeled home green?

You don’t have to do everything.  Some things won’t be applicable to your particular project, and some may not make sense to do for other reasons.  But the bottom line is this: To call a remodel green, it needs to address each of the three fundamentals in some way.  If it’s not energy efficient, it’s not green.  If it doesn’t conserve materials or water or reduce the strain your home places on the environment, it’s not green.  And if it’s not healthy to live in, it’s not green.

-From “Practical Green Remodeling, Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes” by Barry Katz, 2010 Taunton Press