Existing buildings have tons of embodied energy and we can’t always go bulldozing them for brand-spanking new ones. Lots of projects need to be rehabbed and renovated, but where do we go for best practices? I like to follow other projects for ideas, such as this one that we recently featured: World’s First LEED Platinum Home Remodel. The guys behind this project, after going through a major renovation of a traditional home, posted a list of the Ten Most Critical Things to Do in a Green Remodel. They make some excellent points based on true experience, so here it is:
- Get an energy audit. You need a base line to understand what is needed for your project. Most states and utilities offer energy audits.
- Fix or upgrade your insulation to keep out heat/cold.
- Get better windows that seal out the heat/cold, watch the edges.
- Get a highly efficient heating and cooling system to match your needs and ask the utility company to hook you up to the green power.
- Plan for a good air exchange system to ensure your home has healthy air.
- Make sure your paint, carpets, furniture, and wood is made of sustainable, zero-VOC materials.
- Landscape with less grass and use rain gardens that require minimal water.
- Use anything that reduces or recycles water, such as low-flow restrictors on faucets.
- Come up with a plan/system to recycle within the home.
- Work with a professional or organization with experience in green remodeling to keep the costs down and make sure everything works.
Plus, I’m going to add a little, too:
- Recycle or reuse what you deconstruct, if possible.
- If you replace or install new appliances, make sure they’re the most energy and water efficient appliances you can find.
- Use locally sourced materials where possible.
If you have any other suggestions, feel free to jot them down below for the benefit of everyone (communitize #10 and share the wealth!). Via Live Green, Live Smart.
Image via clownfish.