CAN I AFFORD A GREEN REMODEL? CHECKLIST OF AFFORDABLE IDEAS
You want to do a renovation on your home or you have purchased a bank-owned house, but it needs work—and a green remodel would be ideal. You want to do the right thing in using equipment and materials that are sustainable and good for our mother earth. You have a limited budget (don’t we all?) and are now wondering if going green is affordable. Well, here’s some help for you in making that decision.
The general assumption for many of us is that green products and systems are really expensive. This may have been a factor five years ago, but things have changed!
There are now many products on the market, made from recycled materials, which are in the affordable range. Over 40% of current remodel projects are utilizing sustainable products and systems in their construction. Depending on the size of your proposed renovation, remodel or addition, there are definitely some inexpensive things you can include in your plans. They are sustainable and have future payoffs.
Here are some things you can consider for a green remodel:
• Replace inefficient light fixtures and bulbs with energy efficient CFL bulbs.
• Weatherstrip all exterior doors and windows.
• Use flow restrictors on shower heads and faucets.
• Insulate attics and/or accessible floors.
• Plant trees to provide shade and reduce the air conditioning costs.
• Relandscape with plants that need less water.
• Install a timer on the water heater so you’re not heating water while you sleep or away for a few days.
• Install a solar collector to assist in water heating demands.
• Replace an old refrigerator with a newer high efficiency model.
• Clean your air ducts and put yourself on a schedule to replace the filters every couple of months.
• Tune up the heating and cooling system or install equipment with a high SEER rating.
• Install skylights and ceiling fans where appropriate.
None of these items are highly expensive but will have a cumulative effect in lowering your energy costs. If you can spend a little more, consider replacing old and drafty windows with thermal paned replacements using Low E glass. They will make a huge difference in reducing heat loss and will filter out harmful UV rays from the sun. Those really serious about making their new project as earth friendly as possible have installed photovoltaic solar panels which gather the suns energy to make electricity for the home. You might even be able to sell excess power back to the utility company. These and a number of other energy saving options can earn tax and rebate advantages, helping to defray the initial installation costs.
With a little research, you can find which sustainable product will best fit your project and your budget. Installing energy efficient materials in your project are affordable especially when long term savings are considered. Here are a few suggested websites to get you started with gathering information:
For a little more in-depth perusing, the following books will be especially useful:
✦ David Johnston and Kim Master. Green Remodeling, 2004
A good guide for those attempting their first green remodel.
✦ Godo Stoyke. The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook, 2007
Contains informative comparisons of traditional energy systems vs. green systems.
✦ John D. Wagner. Green Remodeling, 2008
Full of information particularly for those using a building professional to do the work.
Remember that green retrofitted homes are becoming more marketable each year as an increasing percentage of the home buying public recognize the benefits of an energy efficient dwelling. So, take a look at your alternatives and you will find there are plenty of ways you can wrap your budget around sustainable products and ideas, giving you the satisfaction in knowing you are building green and saving some money on energy costs as well.
For more insights on new construction and remodels, especially for the owner ready to take control and save money, to see this major investment play out successfully, is to have a blueprint for success.
My How To book, “Screw It! I’ll Be My OWN Contractor,” is available on Amazon in print and eBook formats.
For a small investment in this highly readable, comprehensive guide on DIY project management, “Screw It!” answers all your questions, from hiring the right architect to securing permits and more. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me using the form on the Contact page in this site. YOU can do this!