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8 Ways to Green Your Remodel

By Earth911 |
Remodeling is one way to get the most bang for your home-owning bucks, but the process can be toxic — on you and on the planet. Find out how to upgrade your home in an eco-friendly manner.
Courtesy of Earth911 | Originally Published: 09/28/09

A recent Harris Poll revealed that 77 percent of American homes have lost value in the past 12 months. For homeowners, a remodel may be a way of adding value back to their property. For those looking to buy in a down real estate market, remodeling may be the first step toward turning a great buy into an outstanding investment.

Regardless of your reasons to undergo a remodel, it can be an environmentally-taxing process. Here's eight ways to add-on or upgrade in an eco-friendly manner:

  1. Head to the ReStore
  2. You may know that Habitat for Humanity has been building houses around the world for families in need since 1976. But did you know that Habitat has retail stores where you can purchase surplus building materials at a fraction of the cost? Habitat ReStores promote the reuse of supplies and can save you money. Plus, proceeds from your purchases will help build more houses.

  3. Find Non-Volatile Paint
  4. Sometimes a remodel can be as simple as repainting your bedroom, but paint is the second highest source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) behind automobiles. VOCs can cause headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. Low- and zero-VOC paints are available, which will produce less toxic emissions. You can also find natural paints, and you can recycle paint.

  5. Insulate Forever in Blue Jeans
  6. Your torn pair of 501's could help keep your whole body keep warm in the winter. Recycled denim can be used in insulation instead of fiberglass, and it uses less chemicals in production. Ask about blue jean insulation if you're building a new room, and recycle your old jeans using Earth911, so there will be material for another person's eco-remodel.

  7. Have a One-Story Garage
  8. Speaking of insulation, your garage is probably the least insulated room in your house. Keep this in mind before you decide to build a room on top of it. Temperature control will be a challenge, meaning you'll probably use more heat and air conditioning in these rooms. Even with limited space for adding-on rooms, you may be able to find better solutions.

  9. Be an Energy Star
  10. One of the first things you might notice while house hunting is the condition of the appliances. Whether it's the washer/dryer or the refrigerator, one of your first moves as a homeowner could very well be replacing some appliances. When you're shopping for new ones, look for an ENERGY STAR label. These appliances will not only save energy use, but also money on your energy bill. Find out where to recycle your old appliances using Earth911.

  11. Plan on Ceiling Fans
  12. They may seem old-fashioned, but ceiling fans help control your temperature while using less energy than heating and cooling units. In the winter, fans can pull heat from the ceiling downward to better distribute your warm air. Plus, you can find ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fans that save up to 50 percent more energy.

  13. Add a Compost Pile
  14. So you have a backyard that is being underutilized? One addition you may want to consider is a compost bin. It could be as simple as an old tire where you collect organic waste, both from your kitchen and your yard. The resulting product will be nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used to help your plants grow.

  15. Rug-cycle
  16. You may tear out carpet in favor of hardwood floors or tile. You may just want to switch things up with a new color. Regardless, your old carpet and padding are recyclable and can be recycled into new carpet infinitely without losing their original properties. For carpet recycling locations near you, use Earth911.

What ideas do you have to keep your remodeling project to a minimum environmental impact? Share your thoughts below!

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