In the past five years, the construction industry has seen almost double the increase in demand for green, or 'eco-friendly,' residential buildings and remodels. Building a home that is environmentally friendly not only benefits the environment by reducing landfill waste, reducing toxic emissions and stopping harmful manufacturing practices, it also helps you save money and reduce your energy bills.
There are several ways you can remodel your home to be greener, from anything as small as a countertop replacement to a full room renovation. We outline the most popular eco-friendly home improvements below!
Recycled Glass Countertops: Giving off the appearance of granite, recycled glass countertops are made from a variety of materials that were destined for landfills. Coming in a variety of textures and colors, you can usually work with companies to create your own personal countertop. Other eco-friendly countertop materials include paper-based composite and terrazzo, which is also made of recycled glass.
Extra Insulation: Installing insulation in your walls is never a bad idea, especially in areas like the Northeast where it's brutally cold in the winter and severely hot in the summer. Extra insulation provides another barrier from the elements between your wall and the siding by keeping solar heat out during the summer and preventing electric heat from leaving in the winter. Additionally, insulation is great at keeping contaminates like pollution and insects out of your home.
Reclaimed Flooring: Reclaimed wood flooring is made of 100% recycled materials with no new trees being chopped down to make the materials. The adhesive backing is even free of formaldehyde. Prices vary depending on where the wood is shipped in from, but is usually around $5-15 per square foot. Other green flooring options include natural linoleum and bamboo wood, both of which are made from raw materials and stop microorganisms from spreading germs.
Green D'cor: Once you're done with the remodeling process, you can still be environmentally friendly by being mindful at the home goods store. More and more furniture is being manufactured with recycled and organic products. Green Pages is an online shop that features green products to decorate your home with!
Energy Efficient Windows: Choosing to install energy-efficient windows can substantially reduce your monthly heating and cooling bills, so they pay for themselves year-round. These windows have benefits like smaller HVAC systems, so a lower HVAC cost, eliminating drafts that enter the home, reducing condensation and increasing the natural light allowed in the home.
Cool Roofs: Cool roofs are a new trend in which the roofing system reflects the sun's rays in order to save money on energy bills. You can choose to install paint coatings, sheet coverings, or specially designed shingles, each of which is made to absorb less light than their standardized counterparts. The average deduction in utility bills is about 20%, but usually only benefits those living in warmer seasonal climates.
Green Roofs: While green roofs have been used in the UK for awhile now, they are only recently gaining popularity in the US. Composed of a waterproofing, thermal insulation, vegetation and many other layers, green roofs absorb water from storms instead of it draining onto the ground. The roof and house temperature is then lowered as the water is evaporated from the roof. Try the green roof calculator to see how much energy you would save!
Bioethanol Fireplaces: According to HouseLogic, this fireplace is 'fueled by bioethanol, which is a renewable carbon-neutral energy source made from plants such as sugar cane' and doesn't emit any CO2 into the air. It doesn't emit smoke and thus, does not require a chimney so the heat stays in the room. Better yet, they can be built anywhere, not just on the hearth. As you can imagine they are pretty pricey, ranging anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000.
Fiderio & Sons would be happy to help you in any of your home remodeling needs. Visit our showroom in Meriden and be sure to download our FREE Home Remodeling & Addition Checklist!