It's the biggest trend in remodeling, and rather than costing you more than a standard remodel, sustainable choices will save you money in the long run. There's a lot you can do to save energy and natural resources, in every room of the house. Here are 7 examples:
- Insulate your home to prevent hot or cold air from escaping. This solution can be as affordable as caulking or weather stripping your windows, doors, air vents, and electrical outlets, or as involved as replacing old windows with Energy Star-rated replacements.
- Go solar. This new trend shows no signs of slowing down. Solar energy is renewable, replacing greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels. At the same time, homeowners all over the world are saving on their water and electricity bills.
- Purchase energy- and water-saving fixtures. Low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets come to mind, as well as water saving clothes washers and dishwashers. When it comes to electricity, more efficient refrigerators, dryers, ovens, and most other appliances are available, working just as hard with less output.
- Select environmentally friendly materials. You've now got more options than ever before, from bamboo and cork flooring to salvaged wood furniture and eco-friendly kitchen islands made from recycled glass. Also, try using organic and natural fabrics.
- Avoid harmful chemicals. These can be found in every room where paints and glues are used. Select VOC free paint and formaldehyde free glue for cleaner indoor air. Ask your contractor if the materials you are using are non-toxic.
- Light up smart. If you haven't replaced all your incandescent yet, don't wait until they're phased out permanently. Start saving 70 percent of that energy with CFLs.
- Stay small. This will help reduce your overall carbon footprint. Instead, design your spaces wisely, giving them multifunctional purposes to make the most of existing square footage. Built-in bookcases are a great example.