Green remodeling is common sense, architectural designer Michael Anschel says. Here are his six ways to green your next remodeling project:
Consider the site. Plan your remodel so it remains within the original carbon footprint of your house to minimize impact on the landscape. Take advantage of passive solar gain and shade-tree cooling.
Use green building materials. Consider Icynene insulation; millwork certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); remnant granite; shade-tree flooring; flooring and cabinets made from renewable bamboo, lyptus, mesquite, or wheat board; energy-saving triple-glazed wood and aluminum-clad wood windows; heat-reflective, long-life, recyclable metal roofing; energy-saving compact florescent lighting; dual-flush low-flow toilets; programmable thermostats; and low- or no-VOC paints.
Avoid products made from nonrenewable resources and those that require a lot of energy to produce. Examples include asphalt roofing, vinyl or aluminum windows and siding, fiberglass insulation, energy-wasting recessed lighting, petroleum-base solid-surfacing countertops, formaldehyde-rich sheathing material, and tropical hardwoods that are not FSC-certified.
Recycle construction waste, or hire a disposal firm to sort and recycle it for you.
Choose an open floor plan that limits the number of doors and full-height walls. This decreases lumber consumption and helps heating and cooling systems run more efficiently.
Use durable, high-grade materials. The wasted energy, materials, and money spent to replace bad construction materials and cheap fixes is astounding.