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:

  1. Get an energy audit.  You need a base line to understand what is needed for your project.  Most states and utilities offer energy audits. 
  2. Fix or upgrade your insulation to keep out heat/cold. 
  3. Get better windows that seal out the heat/cold, watch the edges. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Plan for a good air exchange system to ensure your home has healthy air. 
  6. Make sure your paint, carpets, furniture, and wood is made of sustainable, zero-VOC materials.
  7. Landscape with less grass and use rain gardens that require minimal water. 
  8. Use anything that reduces or recycles water, such as low-flow restrictors on faucets. 
  9. Come up with a plan/system to recycle within the home
  10. 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.