Build or Remodel Your Home with Eco-Friendly Products

Consider concrete countertops for a low-cost option for eco-friendly building or remodeling. Photo: © Elenathewise - Fotolia.com

Consider concrete countertops for a low-cost option for eco-friendly building or remodeling. Photo: © Elenathewise - Fotolia.com

If you’re lucky enough to have the time and money to build your own home (or more likely, have it built by others), then there’s absolutely no reason you can’t get the greenest house in existence, thanks to building companies that specialize in just this sort of construction.

Whether you’re interested in building a green home from scratch, or you’re looking to renovate the home you already own in a way that is in keeping with your environmental sensibilities, there is an increasingly wide variety of eco-friendly products to help you meet your goals on the home front.

The first thing you should consider is concrete, an incredibly green product which has an amazing array of uses. For example, you know it is poured to create the foundation of a home, but did you know that insulated concrete forms (which are fire-, water-, and insect-resistant) can be used as a framework for your home instead of wood?

And stained or polished concrete can provide beautiful flooring and countertops, as well as molded furnishings. If you’re pleasantly surprised by this news, just wait until you see the price tag. It’s generally far less than standard materials, although the price could go up, depending on the customization options you choose.

And since your renovations projects could include knocking out walls and putting in new ones, think about greener options for drywall, such as EcoRock, which has won several awards for its eco-friendly properties. Not only are 85% of the materials used to make this drywall recycled, but it also requires 80% less energy and produces 90% less CO₂ in the manufacturing process. This is one of those items that sounds too good to be true but isn’t, for once. And just so you know, removing interior walls is a great way to let more natural light into your space (and reduce energy usage).

Consider, too, reclaimed woods. Like concrete, this eco-friendly alternative to buying brand-new hardwoods could meet many of your building needs while reducing your cost and your carbon footprint. Not only can recycled and reclaimed woods be used throughout the building process, but they can also account for many interior dressings, from flooring and railings to cabinetry, decorative woodwork, and even furnishings. It’s a great way to fill your home with warm hardwoods without denuding any more forested lands or going over-budget.

Of course, it’s important to act in a responsible manner when purchasing any goods, including those for home-building purposes. This means opting for construction operations that used locally sourced materials (rather than having items shipped and creating an alarming amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the process). Contractors who embrace eco-friendly practices are also a must.

And when it comes to putting the finishing touches on your space, install products that help you to conserve energy (alternate energy systems, energy-star heating/air and appliances, tankless water heater, etc.) and water (low-flow toilets and aerated faucets, for example). Every little bit helps to keep the environment clean, and a comprehensive plan allows you to add to the value of your home while potentially having a significant positive impact on your utility bills.

Evan Fischer

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Morrison Hershfield, a leader in innovative, eco-friendly and cost-effective engineering projects.

 

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