Green Remodeling Options

When most people hear the term “green remodeling” they usually think of energy-saving features-better windows, more efficient heating and air conditioning, and energy-star appliances. These are an important part of making your home remodeling project green, but there are lots of other ways to make your project environmentally conscious-whether you favor a sleek, modern look or a more traditional style.

 

Recycled Materials

 

Recycled glass can make beautiful countertops, tiles, and even flooring for a bathroom or kitchen remodeling project. Depending on the style of your house you might be able to use doors, ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, or other elements that you find at a flea market – or reuse pieces from the “before” part of your house. Many homeowners like the look of reclaimed weathered wood from old barns and farmhouses – as flooring, on walls, or as ceiling beams.

 

Sustainable Materials

 

If you can’t use recycled materials, sustainable materials are a good way to go. Bamboo grows quickly and harvesting it doesn’t require cutting down forests of trees. Bamboo is popular for floors and can also be used for cabinets in your kitchen remodeling project. Cork and Eucalyptus are other sustainable materials that are good for floors. If you prefer a traditional hardwood floor look, some companies only use wood from sustainably managed forests that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

 

Indoor Air Quality

 

The market is full of paints, carpeting, and other materials that are low in VOC s (volatile organic compounds). Recently more attention has been paid to the effects of such compounds on the people who live and work in traditional buildings. For instance, VOCs can trigger asthma, one of the biggest causes of absenteeism in schools. Studies have found that students in “green” schools have fewer absentee days. They also tend to do better on standardized tests, in part because natural light is healthier, causes less eye strain, and helps them stay more alert.

 

Joaquin Erazo, Jr. is the senior vice president of marketing and public relations at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. Find a home remodeling company near you or read our home remodeling tips blog.

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