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Green remodeling: saving money and creating a healthy home

When planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation or adding extra living space to your home, ask a professional contractor to find out how to create a more efficient and safer home. The benefits of green transformation include saving money by improving efficiency, improving indoor air and water quality, and reducing negative impacts on the environment.

Save money

According to the National Association of Home Builders [NAHB] reformers, energy efficiency is the primary reason why homeowners choose green. When the house is more energy efficient, the homeowner can save on utility bills. This is an attractive feature for homebuyers, so creating an energy efficient home also adds to its market value. Certified contractors can perform energy assessments on homes and recommend changes through professional modifications or even simple changes [such as using newer energy-saving lamps or installing a programmable thermostat].

Some methods can improve energy efficiency:

• Hire a professional contractor to replace clean old windows with energy-efficient double glazed windows and replace aluminum siding with newer vinyl siding.

• Properly insulated attic will save you the most cost – your home will keep better heat during the winter and stay cool during the summer. There are many insulation options depending on the application, including fiberglass, spray foam, rigid foam board and cellulose. The value of R measures the performance of the insulation, so generally the higher the value of R, the better the insulation level.

• When buying a new kitchen for kitchen renovation or replacing a water heater or clothes dryer, look for the Energy Star symbol, ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program that symbolizes energy efficiency and helps consumers find equipment and other products that provide cost by lowering Savings in energy and water consumption.

• How old is your HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] system? More than 10 years of system efficiency is not as good as the new model. When considering a new system, choose the most efficient model that can effectively support the residential area, especially if the retrofit includes additional living space.

Other cost-saving measures include the installation of programmable thermostats, professional inspection and cleaning of the system each year, and sealing and insulating piping systems.

Improve the quality of indoor life

A 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] showed that between 2001 and 2009, the number of people diagnosed with asthma increased by 4.3 million – one of 12 Americans. Although the reasons for the increase are not fully understood, environmental factors including indoor air quality are caused by asthma. More people deal with allergies from pollen, animal dander and mold.

You can create a healthier living environment by improving indoor air quality, water quality and reducing noise pollution. Ultimately, healthier families can also save money by lowering medical costs.

• Choose non-toxic building materials, paints and cleaning products. Many of these household products produce toxic gases containing VOCs [Volatile Organic Compounds], resulting in poor indoor air quality. Side effects include fatigue, headache, nausea and irritation, symptoms of the eyes, nose and throat, respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and more serious problems such as kidney or liver damage or cancer.

• Remove mold, pollen, animal dander, dust mites and dirt by installing a more efficient ventilation system and a high quality air filter.

• Test the water system to determine if a water filtration system is required to remove impurities.

Protect resources: reduce, recycle, update

We think of the importance of a clean environment every day from hybrid and electric car advertising to community recycling programs. Therefore, consider a garbage container filled with debris during the renovation project – this is a big waste. One goal of green transformation is to reduce the amount of waste entering the landfill by reusing or recycling materials. Items taken from the property are in good condition and can be donated to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

When the demolition is complete and it is time to start the transformation, choose natural, more durable materials such as cork flooring or natural fiber carpets without toxic chemicals.

• Cork is a sustainable material because flooring can reduce noise pollution at home and is a healthy choice for those with allergies.

• Install low-flow toilets and shower heads with less water than standard bathroom fixtures.

• Is the old sanitary equipment leaking? Replacing a leaking faucet can save thousands of gallons of water in a year.

• Consider renewable energy sources such as solar energy by adding photovoltaic panels to the roof or courtyard. When you are on a new roof, you can even consider using new photovoltaic tiles.

Green renovations can range from larger projects such as kitchen renovations or new windows and siding that require professional contractors – to smaller changes that homeowners can easily make, such as the use of non-toxic paints and cleaning products. Saving money, improving indoor air and water quality, and reducing waste are all benefits of green transformation. As the demand for green homes increases, creating homes with these advantages can also add value.

Discussing with a professional contractor how to incorporate green concepts into your retrofit project to save money and stay healthy is a win-win!

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