A Guide To Green Remodeling 101.

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The following is a guest post by Nan Fischer, a Certified EcoBroker specializing in green real estate in Taos, NM. Check out her website www.nanfischer.com, and follow her on Twitter for a daily green news feed, www.twitter.com/nan_fischer. Nan writes about green building, solar energy and the environment on her blog, www.desertverde.com. .

If you are thinking of remodeling, go green. From simple painting to a major overhaul, you can incorporate green features that create a healthier environment for you, the planet and your pocketbook.

You will:

  • save energy and natural resources
  • reduce your emissions and your carbon footprint
  • save money
  • increase your home’s value
  • improve your health

According to the EPA, buildings in the US account for:

  • 39 percent of total energy use
  • 12 percent of the total water consumption
  • 68 percent of total electricity consumption
  • 38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions

Photo by by Jeremy Levine Design

You can help reduce those numbers with a green remodel of your home. By adding green features, you will cut back on energy consumption. This conserves our finite resources and reduces the emissions created through their mining and drilling, production, transportation and final use.

Energy is expensive, and cutting back will reduce your bills. You already save money by turning down your thermostat and shutting lights off when not in use. With a green remodel, you would reduce your bills even further. Energy efficient appliances and ceiling insulation are two low-cost, effective ways to save money.

By installing solar hot water and/or electric, or a wind turbine, you generate your own power, greatly reducing power production, coal consumption and transportation costs. Anytime you reduce the demand of a utility, you are saving money, reducing emissions and extending the life of our natural resources. A green home will increase in value, as all homes do, but green features will become more and more desirable as fuel sources become scarce and prices rise. Many real estate associations now offer green features on their multiple listing services, allowing you to buy or sell with energy efficiency in mind.

Health problems today, such as asthma, ADD, cancers and allergies, can be attributed to the toxic air inside our homes. Paints, sealants, glues and new furniture can ”˜gas out’ while we live with them. Remodel with non-toxic paints and finishes low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Buy natural fiber rugs and natural flooring, or use recycled materials that have already gassed out. Increase the ventilation in your home to keep fresh air moving in and unhealthy air moving out. Better indoor air quality will improve the health of you and your family.

Remodeling is more environmentally friendly than new construction. Fewer materials are used, creating less waste, and large pieces of land are not eaten up. Land is finite, and once it’s built on, it can never revert to its original condition. Consider remodeling your home or buying a home to remodel instead of building new. When you remodel, recycle as much waste as possible. Windows, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures and doors can be donated to a Habitat Re-Store or other facility. Before you remodel, consult with a certified energy rater. Find one through RESNET (Residential energy Services Network), www.resnet.us.

A rater will conduct an energy audit of your home and recommend the best ways to improve your energy efficiency. The report will indicate what will give you the quickest and highest return on your investment. You shouldn’t spend more than you can reasonably recover in a short period of time. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency (http://www.dsireusa.org/) for federal and state tax credits for adding energy efficient features to your home. This will continue to save you money while you enjoy your newly remodeled, healthy, energy efficient home.

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