The simplest definition of green remodeling is using construction materials and techniques providing the healthiest, sustainable lifestyle possible. The green building concept swept the country years ago and was readily accepted in the Madison WI area. If your home was built 20 or 30 years ago it is likely as “green” as was possible back then. Today’s standards are higher. Making an older home more energy efficient is an environmentally-responsible decision.
As the Green Built movement grew it was supported by a private organization known as LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The group began certifying buildings for their environmentally-friendly use of materials and technology. It has become the most widely used rating system in the world. However you don’t need to obtain formal LEED certification to be confident you’ve accomplished a remodeling project that is really green.
What do you want from a “green” project in your home?
- Energy efficiency all year around.
- Efficient use of water resources.
- Waste reduction – recycling construction materials, etc.
- Reducing toxin in the home and surroundings.
- High-quality indoor air.
What can you do in your remodel to get these idea results?
- Install maximum-efficiency insulation.
- Install high-efficiency windows and entry doors.
- Seal all seams and crevices that might result in air leaks.
- Install low-flow, efficient water fixtures – toilets, shower heads, etc.
- Upgrade your hot water heated.
- Upgrade all heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.
- Use all low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints.
Low- and no-VOC paints were highly promoted in the past. Today you may see less and less written about it. Why not, it’s as important as ever, right? It isn’t the No. 1 highlight today because all the major paint-makers have all but eliminated VOC concerns from their lineup. However, there are flooring materials that do release VOC so be aware.
Green Remodeling – Beginning Outdoors
If you’re working on a plan for a home addition – anything from adding a room to a second floor or a simple bump-out – protecting your living space begins with the exterior. Consider these eco-friendly moves:
- House wraps and sealants – protect your living space from wind, water and temperature extremes with polyethylene layers. Tyvek is an industry standard. Seal air leaks and reduce heating/cooling costs.
- Improve attic ventilation – protect your roof and ensure your home “breathes” as it should. Reduce the load on AC in summer and reduce moisture build-up in winter.
- Energy-efficient replacement windows – consider everything from weather stripping and caulking to high-efficiency glass. Professional installation is critical to overall performance.
- Choosing the right roof – roofing materials have come a long way in recent years. Consider roofing systems that include subsurface preparation as well as shingle installation. Use shingles recyclable shingles.
Going ‘Green’ In A Kitchen Or Bath Remodel
The two rooms in any house receiving the most remodeling attention are the kitchen and bathroom. An eco-friendly kitchen is the ultimate representation of a healthy lifestyle. Non-toxic materials are obvious considerations in a kitchen remodel. Everything from cabinetry to flooring should be evaluated for VOC emissions. Many flooring materials and man-made cabinet framing contain urea formaldehyde that gives off gases. Glues, sealant, adhesives and grouts also have odors from released gases.
Tile backsplashes represent sustainable materials and there are eco-friendly countertops made from 100% recycled materials.
Studies reveal 27 percent of most household water use comes from toilets. Add to that the water you use for showers, baths and routine washing hands and faces. Creating water-efficient bathrooms is a major green project. In the early days do-it-yourselfers came up with ways to conserve water like putting a brick in your toilet tank so it couldn’t hold as much. That worked. Manufacturers took the hint and created toilets with all the bells and whistles to save water. When you expand your master bathroom to include a walk-in shower or soaking tub, go with low-flow fixtures. Consider non-toxic cement-based or natural ceramic sinks and tiles, too.
Green Remodeling Is A Mind-set – Choose A Pro To Make It Real
When you remodel, you make a green choice. In essence, you’re refreshing your home not replacing it. The process of renovation includes saving natural resources and reducing the emissions from the manufacturing and transportation. In addition many products considered green are also more durable and effective than non-sustainable alternatives.
Do you love the idea of renovating your home to make it energy-efficient? But you’re not ready to take on a full house remodel don’t undervalue remodeling room-by-room. During a year of “stay-at-home” restrictions you’ve realized the flaws in your home, right? Which room gets the most family traffic? Which is the least efficient? What would you love to do to make these rooms perfect? It is more realistic to dive into upgrading your kitchen making it efficient and a pleasant place to be. The same goes for expanding a guest bathroom or turning your master bathroom into a friendly retreat. When it comes to home renovations Westring Construction LLC has done it all. We specialize in working with kitchen alternatives. And, with our professional painting experience, we are extremely aware of concerns for VOC emissions and the options to avoid them.
Whether remodeling a single room, opening up a floor or remaking an entire home – interiors and exteriors – our experience helps you take in all the variables. We provide expert workmanship and reliable timelines. We are committed to creating new spaces that reflect the most readily available, cost- and energy-efficient materials and techniques.
When you’re considering making a change and want it to be as “green” as it can be, call Westring Construction LLC at 608-441-5435 or email us to explore your options. Learn how we can incorporate the latest green remodeling trends and materials into your Madison WI home.