A Push for “Greener” Homes
In today’s growing world, the push for "green" is in the forefront of most design firms. From your use of recycled materials to the improvement of your weather-shielding, you’ll find everything you need to help your home take on a more eco-friendly nature.
“Green” or eco-friendly homes are popping up around the nation. Las Vegas is no different. This also applies to remodelers, too. In fact, many are looking for creative ways to provide eco-conscious solutions for professional and DIY home projects.
Green remodeling practices have become more popular as homeowners cope with ever-increasing energy costs, health concerns and diminishing natural resources. Here are a few ways to plan a green remodel:
Efficient Heating and Cooling
With dramatic increases in energy costs becoming an annual occurrence, many homeowners have come to realize that building in an environmentally friendly way also means making smart decisions that translate into financial savings. New insulation technologies, such as spray-in cellulose insulation, is made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled newspaper and will effectively seal homes from extreme heat and cold.
Thermal solar energy is a non-polluting energy source that is easily captured and used for both water and space heating. Although solar water heaters can be expensive ($1,000 - $4,000), they can save you money for up to eight years, says Austin Energy.
Space heating systems can vary from $800 for wall heaters to $4,000 (or more) for large central systems. Qualified remodelers can help homeowners choose the right combination of insulation and energy-saving heating and cooling systems to reduce energy costs.
Reducing Water Consumption
As southern Nevada is located in the arid Mojave Desert, it averages a mere 4 inches of rain each year. In order to sustain life in the desert, prudent conservation of water and water waste is essential. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (www.snwa.com) offers residents many tips on water conservation for every part of the house, yard and for washing vehicles.
In addition, selecting the right appliances such as water-conserving washers, dryers and dishwashers, and installing low-flush toilets and showerheads, can reduce the amount of water needed and help trim water bills. Positioning a home’s water heater as close as possible to the points of use for hot water will also help conserve this valuable resource.
Healthy Indoor Air
Homeowners today are concerned about maintaining a healthy indoor environment, particularly if they have sensitivities to airborne irritants. Modern building materials, such as construction adhesives, paints and treated woods, can release toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which adversely affect indoor air quality. Today, there are new non-toxic materials that will improve the overall health of a home. Air filters, like those installed in a home’s central HVAC system, can also improve the quality of indoor air.
Reduce the environmental impact of your remodeling project by choosing flooring and countertop materials made from local or regional materials. There are many products on the market today that are either made of recycled products or are produced in an eco-friendly way. “Green” surfaces, such as reclaimed hardwood, bamboo flooring and recycled glass countertops leave a lighter footprint on the environment.
Recycle Construction Waste
Eco-conscious remodelers recycle as much project waste as possible during a home renovation project. For example, CG & S Design-Build will bring four waste containers to a project site – for paper, metal, wood and concrete – in an effort to recycle more efficiently.
For homeowners who want to promote sustainability, remodelers can help navigate the path to greener living. Green remodeling gives homeowners the chance to combine earth-friendly building concepts with cost-saving solutions. Any good approach to green remodeling emphasizes comfort, health, and efficiency for a happier home.