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After a while, every home could use some updating and freshening up, whether to match your needs better or simply to make it look more visually appealing. This is especially true if you are happy in your home and are planning on living in it for many more years. Although some eco-friendly renovation projects require quite an investment, you can rest assured that those investments would be worth it. Plus, there are many both affordable and eco-friendly ways to renovate, and here are some you should consider. Buy energy-efficient appliances If you’re planning on replacing your old kitchen appliances, look for those that are energy-efficient. You can recognize them by the Energy Star logo on them. Larger kitchen appliances, like refrigerators, for example, can use quite a lot of energy, which means that they can also cost you a lot and for a long time. This is why investing in energy-efficient appliances – even though it might cost a bit more initially – can save you money in the long run. Donate everything you no longer need If there’s an item that you’re thinking about replacing, and you won’t need it anymore, don’t throw it away. You can always give it to charity, or you might even have a friend who could use it. Moreover, there are many organizations that welcome such items, like Habitat for Humanity, for instance. In short, there are ways not just to be eco-friendly with your unwanted items but to actually give back to the community as well. Use recycled materials Using recycled materials for your renovation, like reclaimed wood, would help reduce waste. Plus, it would preserve nature simply because there would be no need to cut any trees. Plus, there are many salvaged materials that are both durable and visually appealing, so nobody would even notice that your new item is made of recycled materials. For example, bio-glass looks just like any other “new” glass, but it’s completely eco-friendly, which makes it a perfect choice. Renew instead of replacing You don’t need to replace everything in order to upgrade the appearance of your home. For example, instead of buying new kitchen cabinets, you could simply repaint them and replace only the knobs. Plus, even small changes can make a difference; you can switch one wooden cabinet door with a glass door. It would emphasize the items you keep in that cabinet, and it would make your kitchen look much more interesting. Repaint If you’re thinking about repainting your home, make sure to use VOC-free paint. VOC, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that can evaporate and harm your health. Also, if you’re planning on repainting your exterior, keep in mind that safety comes first, especially if you’re doing it on your own. Therefore, think about getting some quality scaffolding so you can paint the upper parts of your house without using uncomfortable and unsafe ladders that you’d have to move every few minutes. Moreover, if you can’t afford to repaint your entire exterior, think about repainting just your front door, your house numbers, and perhaps your mailbox. It would spice up the appearance of your home, and it would definitely give it a new feel overall. Insulate If insulation is a part of your renovation project, make sure to choose a high-quality one. The better insulated your home is, the less energy you will use on heating and cooling it. In other words, it would definitely pay off sooner than you might think. Just don’t forget to do your research on the eco-friendly insulation options, since the insulation itself is not the only possible eco-friendly aspect of the project. Make use of the sun Going solar is a great way to make your home more eco-friendly. Besides preserving the environment, using solar energy can also reduce your electricity bill. However, you should know that there are ways to use the power of the sun that don’t include spending money on solar panels. For example, you can plant seasonal trees in your yard, which would block the sunlight in the summer but let it through during winter. Or, you could add smart blinds and heat-reducing films to your windows. Add skylights Another great way to make use of the sun is adding some skylights in order to let more natural light into your home. Of course, you don’t have to install them in every room of your home; you can place them in the most commonly used areas, like your kitchen or living room. Just don’t forget to install automated blinds as well, so you can block the sun when needed. If you place them correctly and use them to the fullest, skylights could also help you reduce the amount of electricity you need. If you’re looking for a way to renovate your home while preserving the environment at the same time, consider some of the above-listed suggestions. You would feel much better about yourself, knowing that you’re making a difference, and you’d save some money in the long run as well.
EmmaSturgis posted a blog entry in Emma SturgisWith big renovations come big changes. What better way to change your home after renovating your basement than to go green (or at least greener)? Below are three ingenious ways to have a greener home after renovating your basement, and the best part is they're all extremely affordable. There's no need to go far out of pocket after you've just overhauled a section of your home. Use Green Chemicals When most people think of going green, they think of large scale things. Natural energies such as solar power and cars that run off of cleaner burning fuels are usually at the forefront of 'going green'. However, there are many small things you can do to help green up your home. One of those things is to use green chemicals when you clean your home. They're usually easier on plumbing, definitely better for the environment, and recently there's been a lot of talk that they're substantially healthier for your family. Switch To Eco-Friendly Air Filters Having pure, clean air is important. This is especially true for anyone with pets or children or anyone who lives in the city. But air filters have to be changed often. They create a lot of waste, and a lot of models are made out of plastic, which is hard for the environment to break down once it quits working. While there's no 'perfect' air filter, finding a more eco-friendly air filter is a great idea. Look for one that doesn't need to have its filter changed as often, one that is made out of materials that can break down, or one that doesn't have parts that need to be changed out at all. Ditch The Clutter And Recycle This is duel-ended but well worth the effort. How often have you put boxes away in your attic or basement only to forget about them? You inevitably have to go clean it out, and half the stuff is ruined due to pests, mold, or other unforeseen problems? You end up tossing so much stuff out. Using a storage unit, like Sentry Mini-Storage Inc, to store your stuff ensures that you get to keep your keepsakes safe and help to cut down on the amount of garbage you're throwing out. Similarly, while a lot of areas charge extra for a recycle bin, it's great to have one around. It helps to eliminate trash in landfills and is better for the environment. These are only three of the many things you can do to help make your home a greener one. Choose from any of the tips we listed above, or do some research of your own to help you figure out ways you can be more green.
elizabetheckhart posted a blog entry in elizabetheckhart's BlogThere’s no denying that buildings created in the past ten or so years are far more energy efficient than older structures. The older the building, more likely it is to be an energy sinkhole, consuming far more resources than it needs to. Older buildings more commonly have inefficient HVAC, cooling, lighting and water heating systems in place, as well as wear and tear issues: such as drafty doors and windows, leaky pipes, and worn insulation (if there is any at all). Many articles and much attention has been given to the easy fixes regarding these buildings. Updating lights to CFL or LED lighting, installing a smart thermometer, and purchasing inexpensive insulation from hardware stores for attics, windows and walls are all excellent ways to cut down on energy costs. However, with the ever-rising costs of energy prices, and the knowledge that resident and commercial buildings still account 40% of energy consumption globally, it might be time to consider doing more than picking up a few draft stoppers. Today there are close to 20 million home remodels a per year, with up to $150 billion spend on renovations. Unfortunately, this money is generally driven toward expansion and aesthetic purposes, such as replacing worn out interiors. Little is done toward updating the energy efficiency of a building -perhaps due to a lack of motivation, or lack of knowledge regarding the inefficiencies of a particular structure. Some home and commercial building owners might have even resigned themselves to the belief that unless they were to entirely rebuild, there’s not much that can be done, and obviously, rebuilding a structure from top to bottom costs more than most people can afford. However, this thought process is entirely untrue. There is more that can be done beyond easy quick-fixes, and it doesn’t require knocking a structure down and starting over. In fact, it has been proven that completely rebuilding would waste more material, energy, and money than committing to a Deep Energy Retrofit -what renovation companies and contractors are calling the intense weatherization program that saves far more than the 10% to 15% of standard energy efficiency driven upgrades. Deep Energy Retrofits do more than locate energy weak spots in a home and replace outdated systems. Some contractors, in an effort to create a perfectly insulated building, even use laser technology to create a 3D model of the structure - in addition to traditional scanning technology. Every DER involves adding some form of interlocking, leak proof, thermally efficient material (such as TES, a timber-based facade) onto every outer wall, as well as double and triple glazed windows. Both additions will do far more for a building’s insulation than anything store-bought and self-applicable could ever do. Deep Energy Retrofits might also include replacing poorly installed batt insulation, adding ceiling insulation, sealing ducts, and upgrading hot water heaters, HVAC and temperature systems, and all appliances to Energy Star approved machinery. Additional changes might include installing a sealed combustion furnace and improving kitchen and bath exhaust, as well as whole-house ventilation. On average, depending on the size and state of the building, a full retrofit could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000, with many variations. The cost is high, but still less than a complete rebuild, and well worth it: buildings that have been retrofitted can see onsite energy reductions of up to 74%, and carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced as much as 54%. With energy costs only continuing to rise —more than doubling in the past ten years— and the sluggish pace of renewable energy projects, an Deep Energy Retrofit is likely the best option for many outdated residences and commercial buildings. Building updates, paired with a re-evaluation of energy prices and renewable energy programs (through sites like albertaenergyproviders.ca or http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/ depending on your area) are more immediate, and have more drastic results than investing in unreliable renewable energy sources onsite, such as solar panels or wind turbines, and then rewiring the building.