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Monday, July 25, 2011

10 Green Tips for Summer Remodeling

10 Green Tips for Summer Remodeling
Save money and make your remodel a little greener.
By Heather Pritchard

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or outdoor area this summer? Lately, I've seen Home Depot and Lowe's hoping with customers and full of discounts, which inspired me to find ways to not only save some money, but make those do-it-yourself remodels a bit greener.

Even if you aren't doing it yourself, you can still make greener choices—although some may not be lighter on the pocketbook. As my husband and I have found out, not every green alternative is a cheaper one, so you have to weigh your conscience with your ability to pay. However, there are always many options to get what you want at a price that's right.

Here are a few options:
Go with sustainable products. Bamboo, cork and other materials are made from sustainable resources that are easy to replace. Bamboo for example, is a grass that grows quickly unlike many hardwoods that come from trees and take years to re-grow. There are many discount dealers for sustainable products, like bamboo.
If you don't want the sustainable products, another option is to go recycled. There are many brands of recycled products for flooring and countertops that use recycled glass and reclaimed wood to give you a unique product that is sturdy and stunning at the same time.

Can't afford the recycled alternatives? Try used! One interesting resource is Orange County's Habitat for Humanity's Restore. They sell items that have been donated to Habitat for Humanity and the proceeds go toward building more homes in Orange County. Another option is Builder's discount centers where you could find products that the previous owner didn't like or it wasn't what they ordered. You can purchase what they didn't want at a bargain price. Better in your home than a landfill! Technically reused to me.

What about all those tools you need to do your work? How about borrowing them if you don't need to own? Someone always has an uncle or friend who owns way too many tools. Maybe they are willing to come and help as well, it never hurts to ask.

Go green with your decorating supplies. When ever possible, go for low VOC paints, organic fabrics and sustainable wallpapers. 

Thinking of redoing the front yard? Go native! Ditch that turf and use drought tolerant alternatives for your front yard. The water savings alone can help pay for this renovation. And it doesn't have to be boring. Does it mean you have to ditch green? No, there are alternatives to the traditional grass. I am going to be trying an alternative myself in my own backyard. I will share how that goes once it is installed. Keep tuned in.

New lighting? Skip the incandescent and the Compact Fluorescents and go LED! They are more expensive initially, but will last longer than your CFL's and will save you just as much money. And if you are really feeling ambitious, you can add daylighting—the use of natural sunlight to augment light in your home. Add a skylight or solar tube (hole in the roof that brings sunlight to a room in your home that doesn't have a window) in your home. 

Reuse anything possible. Maybe you have something that's not quite working where it is now—try moving it. Our most recent project at my house was a bunch of river stones in the backyard. I moved them to the front and used them as mulch to cover bare ground. They serve the same purpose and added a much needed detail that our front yard was missing. They will also come in handy when we finally "go native."

It's not an easy task, but buy American if you can. The more local it is the better. We live in an Ikea world where the most affordable options are most likely things not made in the USA. Overstock.com has "Made in the U.S.A." options as well as manufacturers who advertise proudly that their products are made right here in the U.S.
Do your research. There is so much information that cannot be covered in one article about household hazards. A great resource is the The Green Home Guide. They give you their picks for green options from countertops to flooring.

Not everything you do in your renovation has to be green, not even one thing if that's what you choose. But it is important to know there are many options out there. It doesn't hurt to educate yourself. You never know, you might actually like one of them. And it's not just about being green, there are real health benefits to avoiding some of the products out there. The best thing we can do is educate ourselves and learn as much as we can before we make big changes and choices for our homes.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.