Green Remodeling

Home remodeling and improvements account for 40% of residential construction each year while the National Association of Home Builders also projects that home remodeling, from room additions to appliance upgrades, will rise about 5% over the next 5 years.

For the past decade, using alternative materials and "Green" building has become a popular trend for homeowners. While there is no official standard to what is "Green", a home is considered green when energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, sustainable or recycled products, and indoor air quality considerations are incorporated into the process of home building and remodeling. Being "green" does not require an extensive remodel; even the smallest change such as purchasing energy efficient appliances or electronic equipment or switching to compact fluorescent lights is considered a "green" contribution.

Benefits of being "Green" include:

  • Lower operating costs. "Green" homes require less heating and cooling, use less water and have lower utility bills.
  • Lower maintenance. Green Homes use more durable materials, reducing upkeep and replacement costs.
  • Increased value. Documented lower monthly and homes that perform better and longer enjoy increased value.

"GREEN" BUILDING TIPS

Water Heaters:

  • Save energy with a Water Heater Jacket. Placing an insulation jacket can significantly reduce standby losses of your water heater.
  • An on-demand hot water circulation system will save energy and water by more rapidly moving water from the water heater to the faucet. The pump should be installed in the faucet furthest from the water heater. A remote activation button is then installed in the kitchen.
  • When choosing a water heater, pay attention to the Energy Factor (EF). This is the measure of the water heater's overall efficiency. The higher the EF, the more efficient the appliance. Look for a model with a EF of at least .60.
  • Another option is a tankless water heater which runs only when someone turns on the tap. Water is heated as it flows through the heater so there are no standby losses. Despite its initial high-up front cost, Tankless Water Heaters result in significant energy savings.

Natural Lighting:

Before developing your plan for artificial light, consider how windows and/or skylights might provide some or most of the ambient lighting you will need during the day.

  • Skylights can cost effectively provide better natural lighting, helping to reduce energy bills.
  • A vented skylight in kitchens, bathrooms or laundry areas help to remove stale air, cooling the air quickly and quietly with no added energy cost.
  • When choosing a skylight, choose one made with low-e glass; not the single bubble type. Low-e provides a higher insulation value (R-3) and has a double paned window value.

*Source: GreenBuiding.com

Lighting represents about 20% of your home's electricity bill. Using an Energy Star Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) uses 75% less energy (which reduces cooling costs) and lasts 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Using CFL bulbs are recommended for those using specific light for more than 15 minutes.

Types of CFL Bulbs

  • Spiral Bulbs - The most recognizable shape of all, a spiral shaped CFL creates the same amount of lighting as a traditional incandescent, but uses less energy.
  • Covered A-Shaped bulbs combine the efficiency of the spiral with the look of the traditional incandescent bulb. A-shaped bulbs can be used whenever a traditional incandescent bulb is used, such as clip on lamp shades.
  • Covered Globe – Spiral shaped with a decorative cover, Covered globe bulbs are ideal when you can see the bulbs, such as bathroom vanity bars and ceiling pendants.
  • Tubed bulbs – Straight versions of the spiral bulb, tubed bulbs work well in lamps that have slender covers such as wall sconces.
  • Candle Bulbs are sleek shaped and used in tight fitted light fixtures where a covered globe won't fit.
  • Indoor Reflector bulbs – Reflector bulbs are perfect for providing directional light such as ceiling lights and ceiling fans. Indoor reflector bulbs are smaller than those designed for outdoor use and in some cases, can be used with a dimmer.
  • Outdoor Reflector bulbs are sealed to withstand rain and snow. Larger than indoor reflector bulbs, outdoor reflector bulbs may not be compatible with timers, photocells and motion sensors.
  • 3-way CFLs are slightly larger than their matching incandescents and suited for fixtures or lamps with three-way switches.
  • Dimmable CFLs maintain light more consistently and dim to 10 – 40% of its original brightness.

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