If you have an older home, a planned remodel could be just the excuse you need to make it a little more eco-friendly. Older homes typically don’t adhere to the higher standard for energy efficiency that newer homes have and there are many ways to fix that during a remodeling project.
Deconstruct, don’t demolish
Before getting into home upgrades that can make your home more eco-friendly, there are some ways to make sure the remodeling work itself is eco-friendly. As you’re taking down walls or getting rid of a chimney or replacing flooring or whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll have the choice of demolishing or deconstructing. There is an important difference. While demolishing is less expensive and a lot faster, it destroys the materials in question. Deconstruction, on the other hand, involves careful taking apart to preserve any materials that might be recycled or sold to someone else. Some things in your home may no longer be important to you, but they can get a second life through someone else for whom it is the perfect piece for their home.
Work closely with your contractor
Another way to ensure that your project is as environment-friendly as possible is to work closely with your contractor and discuss with him/her what their recycling policy is. Don’t be shy about making it clear that you want to deconstruct, reuse, sell, or recycle whenever possible. Your contractor may even have some additional suggestions about ways to make your remodel more environmentally friendly.
Choose materials carefully
Materials that are natural or require little processing are going to be the best for the environment. When possible, select materials that are made from other recycled materials and are in turn 100% recyclable.
Energy Star appliances
Energy Star certified appliances are more energy efficient. Not only is that good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet since it will reduce energy bills year-round. If your remodel entails new appliances, ask sales associates for recommendations on products that use less water or less electricity.
Energy efficient upgrades
Look for ways to make your home itself conserve energy. A lot of lost energy is the result of drafty windows. Replacing old windows with energy efficient ones is a great upgrade that will pay for itself over time. Installing solar panels on your roof or even just replacing asphalt shingles (which are petroleum-based and end up in landfills) with a metal, tile, or slate roof is another great upgrade. New insulation in the attic will keep heating/cooling costs down and is one of the best investments you can make into your home.
Use baseboard heaters
Baseboard heaters are a more energy efficient way to stay warm in the winter months compared to central heating since they’re strategically placed below windows for maximum efficiency and they can be used to target specific rooms in the home to be heated rather than paying to heat the entire home including rooms that aren’t in use. If you don’t like the look of baseboard heaters, you can purchase attractive baseboard heater covers to more seamlessly integrate them into your home’s design.