If you hear the term “green building,” you may first think of solar panels onto the roof or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Then you may begin to think of bigger concepts, like walls constructed with straw bales. However, while CFLs certainly have their place in every home, and straw bale walls are fantastic for insulation in certain programs, solar power is one of the last things you should consider.
First, you need to shrink your home’s energy use as much as you can, manage your lighting and heat gain and loss, make sure you have good air quality and also assess to make sure that you have well-maintained surfaces inside and outside. Then crown your green masterpiece using a photovoltaic array. It’s important to prioritize your wants and needs during a green remodel, as with every other project. Below are five places to get started.
1. Buy a bath fan. What is the most significant thing in a bathroom? It’s hard to argue with a bathroom and some water. But after those (and before you include a shower), then you require a bath fan. I am amazed at how many baths I move in that don’t have you. A window is not sufficient, and a small noisy fan that no one wishes to turn on is not going to do you any good.
Buy an excellent, silent bath fan, and if it does not have an occupancy sensor, cable it with another timer switch. A fan should operate for at least 10 minutes after you leave the space for odors and 20 to 30 minutes after a shower. Make certain it vents to the outside. Though it’s important to get a specific degree of moisture in the atmosphere in your home, it is bad to have it all in one area. Vent your bathroom and your paint will last longer, you won’t encounter the danger of mold growth and cleaning will be easier.
West Architecture Studio
2. Handle the light. Handling the light that enters your home is a way to save on utility bills and make your home a more cheerful location. Strategically placed awnings and roof overhangs can help you do so. In the summertime, if you don’t want as much light or heat, sunlight is higher in the sky. Because the light strikes your house in a steeper angle, the exact same awning that blocks out light in summer time will allow the low-angled winter mild in if you need it most.
The awning pictured here serves another purpose. Because it’s set down below the top of the window, so it reveals light upward on the ceiling inside, making a nice ambient glow inside instead of a glare.
Buckminster Green LLC
Another fantastic way to get light in your home without earning a lot of unwanted heat is to install a solar lighting tube. These capture the low-angled winter using reflective coatings within a roof-top dome, and are much easier to set up than a skylight since they require no structural headers. Also don’t feel limited to rooms right beneath the roof. The reflective tubes could be run down in the second floor to the first floor although closets or thick walls, and they are even able to make minor turns.
Hilti Spray Foam Gun
3. Insulate. If you spent a lot of money getting the most efficient windows you could afford, don’t let the heat escape all around their sides.
If you have ever used a can of foam, however, you are aware that it can be a tricky, messy process, and some is inevitably wasted if the could dries up. Therefore, in case you have a lot of foaming to perform, put money into a foam gun. The foam does not dry out, and you can control the flow rate, so the application process won’t be as messy and less wasteful.
Geocel 84101 Quick Shield White Sealant – $5.19
As soon as you seal up your house using foam and caulk, you don’t want to trap harmful pollutants inside. Indoor air is generally much worse for you than outside air, and thus don’t make it worse by using home improvement products that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.
Many of you have probably heard of no-VOC paints. However, what about the painter’s caulk? I’ve tried many “green” caulks, and many are not as easy to use as standard painter’s caulk. This product from Geocel is solvent free and VOC free, and it works amazing.
Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..
4. Use reclaimed materials. Most metropolitan regions now have several architectural salvage shops. While materials manufactured from recycled materials are great, remember that it’s decrease, reuse and then recycle.
Reclaimed materials are a great way to reuse. Proceed to the local salvage yard and think creatively. Here a wall is dressed up with old planks, some with the original paint on them. Reclaimed doors, light fixtures and tile are all fantastic ways to give a room character. Don’t be afraid to use something for a purpose other than that which it was intended for; my coffee table in your home is made of an old outside shutter.
Nansulate LDX Clear Lead Encapsulation Coating for Lead Abatement – $84.95
I know what you are thinking: “Kenny, you just got done telling me to not let my airtight home be full of VOCs, and now you are telling me to bring crusty old construction products into my house and leave the old lead paint onto them for allure?”
Yes, however there’s one more step. If you would like to safely coexist with surfaces that may be covered in lead paint (and some other painted surface out of before 1978 should be considered a hazard), you are able to encapsulate the lead by using a product similar to this one from Nansulate. It has quite a low amount of sheen, so that you won’t even know it is there. And you can get that rustic appearance without endangering your family.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
5. Pick quality materials. Eventually, think about every part of your project with that first “r” — decrease — in mind. We are currently renovating a house in Philadelphia constructed in the 1700s. The floors are first; the plaster is first; the brick front is first. By using materials that last, such as brick, we decrease the number of times a home needs to be renovated. So less waste and less energy used making new materials (and less work for contractors such as me). Of course, there will always be work construction for an increasing people and serving people’s changing needs and preferences. I just hate tearing out a cheap flooring that lasted just ten decades.
More guides to green construction