Tips For “Green” Home Improvement

You might not have known when you embarked on your most recent home improvement journey that you’d end up discussing sustainability or how to be more “green.” It sounds like a conversation you’d have with Kermit the Frog. The reality is, however, that incorporating green design is a must in today’s world, not only because you can lower your impact on the environment, but also because it can help save you money in the long run.

Two Green Philosophies
Korina Branson-Jones and her husband David Jones own GreenStick Energy Efficient Construction which specializes in how to build sustainably. Korina said, “The main thing is, there’s kind of two trains of thought for sustainable materials in your home. Some people do it because it’s the right thing to do. They want to reduce their carbon footprint . . . and there’s also the energy-efficiency side of things.”

Energy-Efficiency Requires Investment, Pays Dividends
If you fall in the first category, cost won’t be an issue to you. The truth is, energy-efficient construction can be expensive and be more work than a lot of homeowners are up for. The latter category probably describes a wider pool of people who might not realize at first the personal benefits of green remodeling. According to Korina, however, “that upfront cost is going to be offset by the overall savings by buying something like, say, a tankless water heater.”

Buy Building Products Locally
One way you can live sustainably is not only by purchasing Energy Star products, but also by buying locally. Sure, bamboo floors are attractive and bamboo is a fast-growing, easily harvested product, but it isn’t grown commercially in the United States. It has to be shipped here which in turn raises its carbon footprint significantly. If you have a stone home, look for local quarries to purchase your materials. You’ll probably save yourself some money on shipping and save the environment the extra carbon required to ship it over long distances.

Hire A Green Contractor
Once you commit to trying to remodel sustainably, you’ll need to find contractors who share your vision. Korina said homeowners should “interview them to see what their knowledge is in using these practices and using these materials and products. If the contractor isn’t well versed in green building practices, they’re not going to be very open to using them.”

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