What Is The Average Steps Per Day For An 11-Year-Old Going Green With Your Remodeling Project

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Going Green With Your Remodeling Project

Thinking of doing a little remodeling? The home remodeling project can be a fun and satisfying experience. You can test or improve your handyman skills, try out those new tools or go buy more tools. You can show off your creative and mechanical skills as well as your superior planning ability. The finished project stands as a monument to your practical skills. Nothing is as fulfilling and satisfying as a well-done remodeling project done with your own hands.

There is another benefit to this remodeling project – saving the planet. Yes, you can be a “green” remodeler.

What exactly does “green” mean? Well, there are many websites and resources that provide information on this topic. Generally the “green” remodeler will make choices that affect the following:

  • Water Consumption
  • Energy Consumption
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Material Life Cycle
  • Project Waste

Water Consumption: The average household uses 11 gallons of water per day. There are many opportunities to reduce water consumption with our indoor remodeling options.

  • High Performance Products. If you plan to buy new appliances or replace older appliances, many products today are available with significantly lower water consumption rates. Dishwashers, washing machines and toilets all have lower water consumption versions. It is not uncommon to see a 30% reduction in water consumption with these products.
  • Buy a Dishwasher: Studies show that using a dishwasher will effectively use less water than hand washing.
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Replace shower heads and faucets with low-flow fixtures. You will save water and not even notice the difference.
  • Repairing Leaks: A dripping faucet or flushing toilet can waste 100’s of gallons of water; most of these repairs are very simple and inexpensive.

Energy consumption: Residential Energy Consumption costs close to $300 billion a year in the United States. According to the Energy Information Administration, total residential energy consumption breaks down as follows:

  • Heating/Space heating – 29%
  • Air conditioner – 15%
  • Water heaters – 16%
  • Refrigerators -7%
  • Other Appliances and Lighting -33%

When remodeling, one often buys new appliances or even heating and cooling systems. General recommendations for green remodeling include:

  • Buy Energy Star Rated Products: Energy Star is a joint program between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Products such as HVAC systems, appliances and lighting that achieve an Energy Star Label have superior energy efficiency. Just replacing your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs will save 75% in your lighting energy. Not to mention they last 10 times longer.
  • Use sunlight for natural lighting and heating: If your remodeling allows, consider designs and layouts that take advantage of natural sunlight for energy use. Then use Energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights to help lower a home’s heating, cooling and lighting costs.
  • Improve Isolation: Higher R-value insulation in the attic and walls, more energy-efficient windows and doors, as well as good old-fashioned caulking and sealing can reduce energy consumption while improving the comfort of your home.
  • Advanced Lighting and Environmental Control Systems: Use systems that can be programmed to change the temperature settings to minimize energy use. Include motion sensors linked to dimmable light controls in your new lighting systems. Ensure that low or unusable rooms consume minimal heating or air conditioning.
  • Turn Down Your Water Heater: Many homes still have the water temperature set at 140 F to 150 F. This temperature is definitely not necessary for hygiene and with your purchase of more energy efficient appliances; you should be able to get along very nicely at 125 degrees F.

Indoor Air Quality: Paints, sealants and adhesives emit volatiles during application and cure and airborne residues can remain long after the project is complete. Use zero- or low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) products to improve your indoor air quality.

Any areas of your home that have moisture are havens for mold; mold is toxic and should be removed by qualified professionals. Make sure you eliminate sources of moisture penetration and remove water-damaged materials as part of your remodeling.

Materials: There are many options for the remodeler who wishes to use “green” materials. General criteria for green building materials are:

  • Recyclable? – Can the material be broken down and reused for another project?
  • Long lasting? – Does the material last longer than the typical materials. (Ideally it should last forever).
  • Are they made from recycled materials?
  • Was the production process environmentally friendly? Was minimal energy used and environmental waste minimized? Were locally available materials used?
  • Is the packaging recyclable or biodegradable?

Answers to the above questions are not always easy to come by for the average DIYer. Here are some ideas for your material planning.

  • Check out “green stuff” websites and stores.: There are a number of companies that now specialize in green building materials. Even if you don’t buy directly from them, you can do a little research and get lots of ideas about what you could use for your project.
  • Check out the products website: There are some materials that may not have official green ratings or certifications. For example, manufactured stone or faux stone products currently do not have a green rating, but may still be environmentally friendly. Go to the company’s website and check their environmental policies.
  • Wood: use wood materials that have the FSC certificate. This means that the wood has been processed and manufactured in a sustainable fashion. Wood meeting these criteria will have the FSC logo stamped on it.
  • Paints: Many paints are reconstituted from recycled paints. Also, consider cleaning instead of re-painting.
  • Long Lasting Products: Look at the expected life of the product, sometimes for a modest cost increase you can buy a product that lasts considerably longer. The ideal green material should last a lifetime. Buying products that will need to be replaced in 5 years is NOT green thinking.

Project Waste Generated: One of the environmental consequences of any construction project is waste generated by the construction process. Using materials where the waste is recyclable or biodegradable is helpful, but careful planning and project management can significantly reduce the waste generated. Can excess materials be returned? Should that last can of paint be a pint instead of a gallon? Do you plan and measure carefully to make sure you don’t overbuy?

Why go Green? If you’re wondering if you really want to go green in your remodeling project, please consider the following:

  • We must all be responsible stewards of the precious resources on this planet. If each of the 150 million homes in the United States made just a few changes, the total impact on energy and the environment could be colossal. Global warming is a fact and our natural resources are limited.
  • Lower Energy Costs: The average home owner spends almost $2000.00 a year on energy. It is not unreasonable to save 15% to 30% of your total cost with only modest improvements. In addition, future environmental congressional legislation may increase taxes based on energy use, so your potential liability for living in an energy-wasting home could increase.
  •  Home Value: Statistics are beginning to indicate that green homes have a higher resale value. The “greenness” of your home can be an important consideration for the next buyer; this attribute is likely to increase in importance over the next decade.
  • Tax Savings: The economic stimulus package included many federal tax incentives for energy-saving expenditures. Qualified products could generate tax credits of up to 30% of the production cost. See Energystar.gov for product listings and estimated tax savings.

Hopefully, by spending just a little more time on research and planning, you can have the lifestyle enhancing benefits of your remodeling project, plus now have the satisfaction of taking a small step toward making your home greener.

If you want more information about green building, go to usgbc.org and learn more about the LEED -Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- green building rating system.

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