Green Renovations: 7 tips for your project

If you are debating about doing some work on your home, you might want to consider undertaking environmentally friendly, green renovations.  Renovations, in general, are a great way to update the home you have.  Green renovations add the benefits of improving energy efficiency, indoor air quality and comfort, reduce environmental impact and resource consumption and, quite importantly, make your home more affordable to live in, operate and keep up.

Here are a few thoughts and tips that might help you plan your green renovations.

7 Tips For Green Renovations

  • You should be aware of what can be achieved at different levels and costs of green renovations.  Green renovations can be achieved to varying degrees.  There are projects that include low-cost options to renovations that are quite expensive.  Make sure to research and find what fits your budget.
  • Beware of unsubstantiated green product claims.  Many products on the market today claim to be green, but are they really?  Search for products that come from manufacturers who send their products to a credible third-party organization that put their claims to the test.
  • Installing a green featured product doesn’t mean it will magically produce results.  For example, if you were to install a programmable thermostat that is labelled and tested as green and you don’t program it properly, it won’t save on your energy costs.
  • Consider retaining the services of a residential energy advisor.  They can help you to find potential ways to save on energy that you may not be aware of.
  • Prepare the home for green renovations down the road.  It may not be in your budget to do it all at once, so why not allow for it at some point in the future?  You may want to consider pre-wiring for solar panels or pre-plumbing for a solar hot water heater or a greywater system.
  • Get it in writing.  Whether you are undertaking a green renovation or a regular renovation, you should always sign a contract with your contractor.  With green renovations you will want to make sure the contract includes specifying the kinds of products and materials to be used in the project and acceptable alternatives if those aren’t available.
  • Put together an information kit about your green renovations and products used.  By setting out this manual you will be helping yourself (and any future owners of your home!) to understand how to optimize performance.  You should include; instructional materials for any new appliances, special maintenance requirements along with any additional information on green features, and healthy choices for cleaning and maintenance products to be used.

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