Living in a desert environment makes us all keenly aware of natural resources, and one of the great effects that’s having is that green remodeling is really catching on here in Phoenix and the surrounding area. Homeowners and remodeling contractors alike are becoming more aware, not only of what materials are being used and what the consequences are, but also of the alternatives that are available and the value of investing in materials that may cost more up front, but have a longer useful life.
There are really two major aspects of home remodeling where your green concerns come into play. One is in the selection of materials. A good remodeling contractor will know what materials are hazardous, toxic, or otherwise dangerous. Likewise, they will also know which alternatives are the most sustainable.
The second aspect relates mainly to resources, especially energy. The amount of water and power that your home uses can be cut down dramatically by investing in the right fixtures and appliances, and the best time to work it all out is when you are planning out your remodeling. Here are some of the ways you can make your own remodeling more environmentally friendly.
Work with a “Green” Remodeling Contractor
There are many approaches to getting a renovation done, and each remodeling contractor will do things a little differently, but there are training and education programs available to professionals in the industry that help us keep up to speed on the latest products and technologies. Make sure that you work with a contractor who has a green ethic, and understands that you value environmental benefits too.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
All three parts of the “reduce-reuse-recycle” mantra come into play in green home remodeling. In this kind of work, the goal is to reduce the amount of waste and to reduce the amount of harm done to the natural and human environments. When you choose to use wood, you can select a type that is harvested and regrown on a tree farm rather than stripped from a delicate natural environment, like the rainforest.
Choosing stone that is quarried locally, or at least somewhat close by, reduces the amount of fossil fuel used for transporting it.
Speaking of stone, if you have good quality stone countertops, you may be able to reuse them in your kitchen remodel. If you have stone, but it won’t work for the new kitchen, you may be able to crack the slabs into pieces for an outdoor walkway or decorative garden border. Reusing material doesn’t necessarily have to mean it is used again for the same purpose!
If you have appliances, fixtures, or even windows and cabinets that are still in good shape, someone else may be able to reuse them. Habitat for Humanity has stores in most cities that resell them, and other businesses and charities in your area may also take them.
Recycling is the third leg of the process, and when material has value and can’t be reused, you may be able to recycle it. Frankly, remodeling creates a lot of waste that is just that. Nobody wants old, busted-up drywall, but metals are mostly recyclable.
Prioritize the Environment from the Start
The time to integrate green thinking into your project design is right from the very beginning. Your choices about what to dispose of and what to replace it with will be impacted by your commitment to being green. Fortunately, you have more resources and more alternatives than at any time in history, so whatever it is that you want to do, we can find the most environmentally safe way to do it.
Plan for Energy Conservation
Designing your layout to take advantage of natural light will cut down on the amount of electricity you use to light your home during the day. In the kitchen, pay special attention to the direction of the sunlight so that you can position the refrigerator, and separate freezer if you have one, where they won’t be in direct sunlight, which brings a surprising amount of warmth with it. It’s also a good practice to keep the refrigerator away from the stove and ovens to avoid the excess energy use needed to keep them cold in a warmer space.
These are just a few home remodeling tips, and we have many more. TWD has been in the home remodeling business in the Greater Phoenix area for over 20 years, so we know the concerns of our community. If you would like to learn more about green options for your home remodeling, give us a call at 623-544-1211. Our certified design professionals would be happy to discuss your remodeling plans with you.