Going green is one of the most talked about movements of late, and possibly for many more years to come. It means being more environmentally responsible, creating a healthy environment for you and your family, and encouraging energy efficiency while conserving natural resources.
The changes that need to be made to reduce our ecological footprint are relatively easy, and what better opportunity than when renovating your home? Every time you add or change something in your home you have a chance to do it in an environmentally conscious way, increasing the resale value of your home at the same time.
First, when removing anything old that can be reused such as doors and fixtures, consider donating them to Habitat for Humanity. They can sell them and use the proceeds to build houses for people in need.
When buying new appliances, be conscious of energy efficiency. Look for an energy star label but be sure to do your research – the cheapest appliance might not always be the most energy efficient.
Know your lumber: most pressure treated lumber is full of pesticides and chemicals like arsenic. You can purchase woods that are still pressure treated but without these chemicals, just look for CA-B pressure treated lumber. Selecting materials that are recycled, reclaimed or sustainably farmed can go a long way. Also, try buying paints or other finishes with less toxins like water-based polyurethane or low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.
One of the biggest steps a household can take when going green is the conservation of heat in the winter. Ensure you have energy efficient windows or pick up some extra caulking so you can seal problem areas yourself to retain heat and use less energy. Another way of warming up your home is to consider into cotton insulation. It’s effective, safer than fiberglass and is more environmentally friendly. Spray foam insulation is also an option.
To improve overall air quality for yourself and your family, consider replacing your furnace and a/c filters with high efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters. They will also extend the lifespan of these appliances. Going green doesn’t always mean going more expensive. Some materials may cost the same or a little more, but the indirect savings will make up for it over time and your home will be a lot healthier.
Heather Rose is a Toronto based Journalist, who is a regular contributor to the Muddy York Real Estate Blog. Heather website is located at heatherroseportfolio.squarespace.com.