Six Way To Go-Green For You and Your Home

December 12, 2009
One of the best and most effective ways to go green is by making eco friendly adjustments to your home.

Making eco-friendly home improvements is easier than you may think, and the benefits to your health and the environment can be dramatic.

Looking for green-friendly home improvement contractors? How about some tips on making your house an eco-friendly one? Do you want to "go green" when remodelling your home? There are various ways to make eco-friendly home improvements. Here are some eco-friendly options.

1. Hire "green" professionals. If your remodel is a serious undertaking, like redoing an entire kitchen or adding a family room, you most likely will hire a host of professionals, such as an architect to design the project, an engineer to review your plans, and a general contractor to manage the construction. Hiring the right professionals is your first opportunity to make environmentally friendly choices. Begin by asking friends and neighbors with remodels you like for the names of professionals with experience doing "green" remodeling. When you meet with professionals, ask to see examples of their work and to explain what makes it environmentally friendly. Experts will know more about the toxicity and sustainability of certain products, as well as how to take advantage of natural light and heat, reduce consumption, and lower energy costs.

2. Consider what to do with demolished materials. While you're planning how to demolish what you've got, think about what you're going to do with it. The less waste, the better. Consider whether you can reuse or repurpose old materials — for example, by turning the brick from a non-functioning fireplace into a lovely backyard path. Also, figure out how to resell or donate any usable materials.

3. Choosing materials. The planning stage is also when you'll decide what materials you want to use. Look also at environmentally friendly substitutes, many of which won't cost more that their less friendly counterparts. For example:

* Linoleum instead of vinyl. According to Greenpeace, vinyl is the most environmentally harmful plastic out there, and it's made with substances (dioxin and phthalates among them) that can contribute to serious health problems, too. True linoleum, made from linseed oil, is a better choice.

* Low or no-VOC paints. Regular paints release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but non-VOC paints are now readily available. Also, look for low or no-VOC sealers and caulks. * Bamboo, cork, or reclaimed wood instead of carpet or hardwood. Carpet is a particularly bad choice if it emits VOCs, as most do. If you're planning on replacing carpet anyway, consider eco-friendlier options like cork or bamboo, both of which regrow quickly. These are good alternatives to hardwood too, and costs will be comparable because much of the expense is the cost of installation. If carpet is your choice, seek out products certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label and Green Label Plus programs, which have low VOC emissions.

4. Remodelling a Kitchen. Kitchens are high on most home remodelers' wish lists. If you're remodeling yours, here are some ideas for making it green:

* Choose Energy Star rated appliances, which will use less energy and often don't cost more. Check with your utility company too: you may get a rebate on your purchase. * Put in formaldehyde-free cabinetry to avoid releasing environmental toxins. Better yet, go for wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which will be sustainably harvested. * Install a beautiful alternative to shiny granite: recycled-content glass countertops. * Get a water filter as an alternative to buying bottled water. * Take advantage of natural light with well-placed windows, skylights, or sun tunnels. * Keep the refrigerator out of the sunlight and away from the oven, where it gets hot and must work harder.

5. Remodelling a Bathroom. Second only to kitchens, bathrooms are other top place remodelers spend their dough. Eco-friendly options include:

* Replace toilets with low-flow models. * Install tiles made of recycled content. * Use flow reducers on the shower and sinks so you're using less water. * Put in a fan to keep air circulating and to prevent mold growth.

6. Adding On. If you're adding a new room to your home, you can pay attention to these particular possibilities:

* Don't add more than you need. Consuming less is always eco-friendlier. * Install ceiling fans to keep warm air down in the winter, and to provide cool air in the summer. * Install insulation in the walls and attic to prevent heat transfer. * Strategically place windows, shades, and overhangs to take advantage of the sun's heat.visit to get more information on how to go green

Source: Wilson Hank

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