If you’re doing a custom remodel of your home, consider some green additions. Environmentally friendly features are becoming more prevalent — so much so that they will soon be the standard rather than a “trend.” Green features are also becoming more cost-efficient at the outset, so you will see a return on your investment more readily. Banks are financing green updates, and even rolling them into mortgages on new homes. A few easy green upgrades during a home remodel are items like energy-efficient appliances, efficient lighting, or cork flooring.
In kitchen or laundry remodels, you can get the same sleek look with improved function from energy-efficient appliances. The result will be literally hundreds to thousands of dollars saved a year on your energy bill. In addition, pricing on these appliances has dropped, making them an even smarter investment.
Efficient lighting and even “smart systems” that control the lights are energy-savvy. Fluorescent lighting has been the rage because of its energy savings, but whether or not their life span is as advertised (100,000 hours) remains to be seen. LED lights for outdoor applications and under kitchen cabinets are inexpensive ways to go green.
In flooring, cork is eco-friendly. It is actually created from the waste material of the cork used for bottles. The material is ground up and formed into sheets that are bound together under high pressure. Cork floors are easily maintained, and a natural wax substance in the cork repels bugs and makes it flame retardant. Cork also serves as a good form of insulation.
Other green building innovations worth mentioning are more porous materials used for sidewalks and patios to prevent erosion from rain runoff, and light gauge steel for buildings, which contains 25 percent more recycled steel. “Cool” metal roofing is also now available for more energy efficiency.
Adding some green doesn’t mean you have to see red. It means you’re not only doing good for the environment, but you’ll see savings in both the short – and long-term.