Green Remodeling-What Is It?
There is a lot of conversation about green building as people become more conscience of the environment. Global warming, renewable energy, carbon neutral, sustainability, ozone, VOC’s, carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, water conservation & pollution, acid rain, landfills reaching capacity, and energy efficiency are only a few of the terms we hear each day. But what does it all mean? People ask “Green Remodeling-What is it?” How can we have any positive impact on our environment? After all, as individuals, we are not big manufacturers producing millions of tons of toxins each day that end up in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Actually, we do have the power. Manufacturers only produce what the consumer wants. If you don’t buy it, they won’t make it!
Remodeling and building green are not new. DAD’s has been using green building techniques for well over two decades. Green remodeling materials are sometimes hard to spot. Often, green materials are hidden behind the walls and finishes.
Interesting Facts About Green Remodeling and Building:
- It is about ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy our natural resources and have natural resources to utilize.
- Helping future generations have the chance to live and enjoy a healthy and meaningful life.
- Providing and maintaining natural habitats and ecosystems for plants and wildlife.
- Creating efficiency, comfort, beauty, and a more healthful environment in our homes and workplaces using building products that save money.
- Green remodeling and building are about design. Designs that remodel and build homes to make their landscapes and interiors beautiful, healthy, and cost efficient. Whenever possible, design will take advantage of plentiful (and free) sun light, wind, and rain.
Why Consider Green Remodeling?
Green Homes Don’t Have to Look Any Different from Typical Homes
Green remodeling and building are an approach to home improvement with the goal of not only making your home look better but work better—for both you and the environment. Want a healthier home? Lower utility bills? Reduced maintenance? A cleaner planet? A green remodel helps you realize a range of far-reaching benefits from a single smart design. With careful planning, you can create a home that combines beauty, efficiency, comfort and convenience with health and conservation.
Energy efficient and water-wise designs and products reduce monthly utility bills. Installing a high efficiency washing machine can save up to $90 on energy bills and 6,000 gallons of water, every year. The most efficient new appliances typically use 50% less energy than the most wasteful models. A tankless hot water heater combined with a recirculation system can save even more. Efficient and durable features can last longer and cost less to maintain in the long run.
A green remodel can be good for you, physically and emotionally. Health-focused designs maximize fresh air and natural light, while reducing the risk of injury and asthma. The US EPA includes poor indoor air quality on the list of the top five most urgent public health risks. Levels of air pollution inside a home can be 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels. Using low-toxic materials and good ventilation techniques can help to prevent problems like molds, allergens and poor air quality.
Beauty & Comfort
Inviting and attractive rooms reinforce the comforts of home. Natural materials, high quality lighting, and good design details make for pleasing spaces. Your home can be a refuge from the hectic and sometimes polluted world outside.
Classic, well thought-out designs keep things from looking dated and hold their value over time. Homes designed to welcome various ages and abilities are marketable to a larger population (a key benefit for resale). Green elements represent value. Almost 80% of homebuyers say new homes don’t meet their environmental expectations. Almost 96% said they are willing to pay more for a home with green features.
Remodeling is an opportunity to create a home that enhances the environment, instead of depleting it. Minimizing waste and recycling unused materials reduces landfill use. Recycling 60% or more of construction waste is easily attainable in Orange County. By choosing environmentally responsible products, you can protect forests, wildlife, and air and water quality. And, for every gallon of water or kilowatt-hour of electricity you save, you reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas) entering the atmosphere.
How Can I Achieve Green Remodeling?
Design, build, and remodel homes using renewable resources and products that are energy efficient and save money such as engineered lumber (OSB, microlams, paralams, LSL’s, TGI’s). These structural components (the framing of the home) are stronger and virtually perfectly “plumb and square” – reducing the need for labor and material intensive shimming and adjusting when dry walling, tiling, etc.
Engineered building products are renewable resources (saving our forests – which generate oxygen by converting harmful carbon dioxide and preserves wildlife and ecosystem habitants). This engineered lumber allows for longer and wider sections of wood vs. cutting down old growth trees (old, very large trees). Engineered products are manufactured from smaller wood pieces. These products take advantage of more of the tree and there is significantly less waste (saving more trees and landfill space). What could be better? A stronger framing material that decreases the overall cost to build and remodel the home and helps to reduce global warming! Now that’s building green!
- Install lighting and Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC) components that provide comfort, pleases and saves both money and energy. Saving energy reduces the need to generate more electricity which uses more petroleum. The use of more petroleum releases millions of tons of pollutants into our air that is harmful to our health, destroys the ozone layer and participates in increasing global warming.
- Install energy efficient windows that allow refreshing sunlight in while keeping the heat and cold out. Energy efficient windows save money all year long.
- Tankless hot water heaters can save up to 70% when compared to tank type hot water heaters. Placing these on a recirculation system can also save a significant amount of water.
- Formaldehyde free insulation that does not off-gas harmful chemicals into our homes and destroys the ozone layer (increasing global warming).
- Drywall and tile underlayment’s that use recycled newspaper.
- Paints and finishes that are low or free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that produce harmful off-gasses into our homes and destroys the ozone layer (increasing global warming).
- Cabinets and finish woodwork that use or a combination of melamine, plywood, bamboo, and natural hardwoods – saving the hardwood forests. Hardwood trees like oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, etc. take many, many decades (50 to 100 years) to grow to a size that makes them feasible to harvest and use to make cabinets, crown and base board moldings, doors, furniture, etc. Bamboo, which is actually a grass, is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Bamboo can grow 36” within a 24-hour period, reaching full harvesting between 5-7 years – making it one of the most sustainable and renewable building materials. Bamboos high strength-to-weight ratio makes it incredibly durable, strong, and versatile.
- Paint grade baseboards, crown, and door casings using finger jointing wood and Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF). Finger jointing uses sections of wood joined together to make a very high quality and strong material that is straight with dimensional stability. Finger jointing dramatically reduces waste in our industry where the cost of raw materials is rapidly increasing. MDF is essentially sawdust and glue that can be made to almost any length and molded into virtually any shape. This eliminates saw dust going into landfills where it will be buried. Rather, it’s made into beautiful base boards, crown molding, wainscot, chair rails, etc.
- Wood removed from your home when remodeling can sometimes be re-used in the new construction.
- Wood removed or becomes scrap during a remodel is recycled back into mulch. When used around plants and shrubs, this mulch saves water by helping to keep the soil moist. This reduces the need for frequent watering.
- Copper wiring for electricity is a combination of new copper and recycled copper. Recycled copper comes from previously remodeled kitchens, bathrooms, etc. In similar fashion, copper water pipes and water heaters that are removed to remodel homes are also recycled back into both new copper wire and new copper water pipe. This reduces the need to mine more copper and reduces the energy to make the copper. Here too, reducing pollutants that are released into the atmosphere that damage our health, water supplies and increase global warming.
- Carpet using recycled fibers and fabrics. This carpet uses vegetable-based dyes which reduces Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). This reduces polluted water being sent back into our rivers and oceans. Recycled carpet is used in manufacturing new carpet, automobile engine fan shrouds, and air cleaners. It’s also used to make plastic lumber, carpet cushion and resilient flooring.
As you can see, remodeling and building green is not weird, expensive, or a passing fad. On the contrary. It saves you money and it saves the environment. The International Code Council (ICC), the organization primarily responsible for maintaining and enhancing the building codes, issued the first set of green building codes in 2007. All remodeling and building must conform to green remodeling and building standards.
Green remodeling and building are something we all must do. The world’s natural resources can no longer support the removal, extraction, and manufacturing required to support its growing population. In similar fashion, science has learned that materials previously thought to be safe in our homes and workplaces such as lead, asbestos, ventilation systems, paints, varnishes, VOC’s, and mold were causing serious long-term health issues and destroying our environment to include global warming.
All of us at DAD’s Construction truly care about you, your family, and the environment. DAD’s is committed to remodeling using products that are friendlier to you and the environment. This saves you money and helps to provide a world for our children that will be safe, healthful, enjoyable, and beautiful.
I hope this article on “Green Remodeling-What Is It?” was helpful. By working together, we can all enjoy a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future.