Building Green

Guest Blog –

alexhunt Blogroll, Fun things, News, Uncategorized

Every now and then we are pleased to welcome a guest blogger with an article that we think might interest some of our readers – here is one from Jules Hopkins at the US website:

Building Green


You have made the decision to remodel your home. Congratulations, because the remodeling project should increase the value of your home.

There are several factors to account for a home remodel, including whether to add a kitchen countertop or replace damaged roof shingles. However, there is one factor many homeowners neglect to consider when remodeling their home.

Making sure your home remodel is environmentally-friendly.

Remodeling your home in an eco-friendly manner not only lowers your carbon footprint, it also raises the value of your house.

Let’s review how to make sure your home remodel is eco-friendly.

Install an Eco-Friendly Countertop

Installing a kitchen countertop delivers several benefits. However, the benefits mean nothing if your new countertop wastes resources and increases your carbon footprint. The most effective green strategy for a countertop involves refurbishing the current kitchen countertop. However, most countertop projects require the installation of a new countertop. [ED: like the gorgeous corian worksurface in one of our recent projects in the picture below]

refurbished kitchen

Paper Composite

You have probably come across a Formica laminate countertop. The resins used to bind together the primary material contain dangerous formaldehyde. Paper composite countertops deliver the same level of rugged durability, without exposing you and your loved ones to formaldehyde.

Ply worksurface
Ply give a contemporary effect

Reclaimed Wood

Wooden kitchen countertops create a warm, welcoming ambiance. Yet, wooden countertops require the cutting down of trees, which is a huge blow to the fragile ecosystem. The natural material takes years to regrow into hardwood trees that are large enough to provide shelter for birds and animals. If you go with a wooden kitchen countertop, make sure it has received sustainable certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Recycled Glass Tile

Ceramic tiles require the use of hard to replace materials. By opting for a recycled glass tile kitchen countertop, you ensure the countertop material is constructed with nearly 100% recycled glass. Moreover, it is much easier to recycle glass than it is to recycle tile, which means less consumption of energy during the manufacturing process.

Recycled Aluminum

Stainless steel presents a sleek appearance that complements the appearance of stainless steel appliances. The visually appealing material requires plenty of mining that produces considerable pollution. Go for the same sleek appearance of stainless by adding a recycled aluminum kitchen countertop.

Recycling at grassroots level

Donate Items You Do Not Plan to Use

Are you tired of the same old look delivered by the dining room chandelier? Does the living room sofa trigger a yawn? Do you look at the dresser in your room and think about the best place to hide it? A home remodeling project typically includes replacing furniture and appliances. Instead of placing the old stuff by the curb, rent a moving truck and bring all of your discarded furniture and appliances to the nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center. [ED: at BGH we often recycle materials through the Freegle website in our local area].

Energy Efficient Appliances

One of the main reasons we replace appliances during a home improvement project is to install more energy efficient dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines. You will nail energy efficiency by purchasing appliances that have the Energy Star logo [ED: Here in the UK we call this the EPC rating and we always recommend getting a A++ rated appliance] on an easy to see section of a new appliance. You can expect to pay a little more to buy an energy efficient appliance, but you will save money in the long run by paying less each month for your electrical bill.

Just Say No to VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) develop high vapor pressure at normal room temperatures. The result is the release of harmful molecules into the surrounding air. When the time comes to paint a room, buy NoVOC paint that emits no VOCs or a very low level of VOCs. Not only will the release of VOCs be negligible, most NoVOC paints are odorless and do not splatter.

If It Ain’t Broke…

…Don’t fix it. You can apply this timeless adage to just about anything, from relationships to automobiles. However, the adage has special relevance for homeowners that want to perform eco-friendly home remodeling projects. Instead of tearing down walls and creating a large pile of rubbish, why not consider reconstructing walls by using pre-owned materials. You enjoy the eco-friendly benefit of limiting the use of natural resources, while saving money on the home improvement project.

Insulate the Attic

loft insulation
This is an absolute “no-brainer” – you can even add lots of new storage space

Are you someone who constantly moves the thermostat needle up during the winter months? You might feel warmer, but the environment will not feel well. Instead of using more energy to heat your home, consider the installation of insulation in the attic. Adding insulation captures the warm air that rises to the roofline. You will enjoy a warmer home, while keeping the thermostat down to a level that benefits the environment.

Here Comes the Sun

Solar energy remains the most viable alternative source of energy for homeowners. By adding skylights and solar panels, your home will consume less energy. You can install a solar energy system to heat your home, as well as generate enough power to run small items like an indoor fountain. In addition, simply opening up the drapes and curtains on a sunny day will invite warmth into your home.

Solar Panels
Solar PV on a job from a few years ago

Shop at Antique Stores and Salvage Yards

Yes, salvage yards, which also go by the less appealing term junk yards, are considered by many people to be places to shop as a last resort. Nonetheless, salvage yards offer two eco-friendly benefits. First, the owner of a salvage yard has prevented something from entering the local landfill. Second, by buying something at a salvage yard, you ensure the item remains above ground as well. Moreover, shopping at an antique store for items such as doorknobs and light fixtures helps the environment, as well as generates a charming ambiance for a room in your home.

Refurbish Cabinets

Perhaps no other household item goes under a home remodel more often than cabinets. From storage spaces in the kitchen to the large cabinet underneath the bathroom sink, cabinets require constant maintenance and in many cases, replacement. Instead of wasting materials to replace your cabinets, consider refurbishing the storage spaces with a coat of NoVOC paint and a little bit of stain.

Make an eco-friendly statement for the next home re-modelling project by learning how to make sure your home remodel is eco-friendly.