Going Green: The Value of Eco-Friendly Choices

A home remodel is a great point to start going green; your home is where water consumption and energy usage combine to make toast of your utilities budget. Picking options that reduce resource consumption will dramatically lessen the impact on both the environment and your monthly bills.

Updating your home is always a good time to make healthier choices for yourself and the planet.

Starting at the planning stage, consider the environmental impact from the onset. When you hire professionals, whether your project is big or small, get green-savvy experts. Ask questions like what is done with demolished materials, and choose products that don’t release environmental toxins.

To begin with ask friends and neighbors with green remodels you like, for referrals. Experts who are familiar with green projects will know about taking advantage of natural light and heat, reducing consumption and lowering energy costs.

In the planning stage you’ll also decide what materials you want to use. Chose certified products that go through rigorous procedures to test for ecological impact and which have low VOC emissions.

Two of the most popular remodels are also the two areas of the home that have the most environmental impact. Kitchens and bathrooms are high on the renovations list for most homeowners.

Your bathroom is one room where going green has a big payoff. An average (green) bathroom upgrade can save 7,000 gallons of water a year. You’ll still have to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth though; leaving the water running while brushing can use as much as five gallons! Experts estimate 30% of household water is flushed down the toilet, quite literally money down the drain. Replace toilets with low-flow models and you can save as much as four gallons per flush.

Overhauling the bathroom is so worthwhile; a gloomy, shabby, out-of-date bathroom can stop buyers in their tracks. The bottom-line is clean, light and modern increases property value.

In the kitchen, the same parameters apply – clean, light, modern and efficient; layout is an important factor here where several family members may be occupied at one time.

Choose Energy Star rated appliances. These use less energy and are often reasonably priced and you may be able to get a rebate on your purchase so check with your utility company.

In some cases, federal tax credits are available; check it out on the Energy Star website. And don’t overlook the tax benefits and incentives offered under the National Energy Policy Act for improving energy efficiency in existing homes.

Wood cabinetry is formaldehyde-free; look for wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which will be sustainably harvested.

Make use of natural light by using well-placed windows, skylights, or sun tunnels.

Don’t place the refrigerator next to the oven or in direct sunlight. The extra heat will make it work harder to keep cold.

Turn your greenbacks into green bucks by picking environmentally friendly choices when remodeling. Reduce water consumption just for starters and see your utility bills shrink. Improve your homes’ air quality by moisture control, better ventilation and limiting VOCs. Green renovations have been proven to increase the value of a house and get your property noticed.

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