Green Home Remodeling: What can I do?

“Building Green” is very popular now. I am a strong proponent of eco-friendly home ownership and building. What specifically can we do to make a difference?

Of all the “green” strategies available these days to builders, homeowners and home remodelers that will reduce energy usage significantly, four stand out:

(1) build a tight, well insulated home;

(2) reduce the demand for electricity by installing energy-efficient appliances;

(3) choose proper heating and cooling systems for energy efficiency; and

(4) install renewable-energy systems.

The first on this list is the most important and will have the most impact on energy usage. The energy needed to heat and cool a super insulated, air-tight home is small.

There are many things a homeowner can do to determine whether or not a home is tight and well-insulated. Check the insulation under the floor and in the attic. Investigate the amount of insulation in the walls. Check the windows. Are they air tight? Do they have a low thermal conductivity R value? Are there any leaks? Check that weather seals around the doors are tight. Consider installing storm doors. Is the exterior of the home sealed? Caulking the exterior of the house may be necessary.

In short, the first step toward living and building “green” can be as simple as making sure that our homes are well insulated and sealed.

Oh, by the way, have you heard about “eco-batts” used in home insulation? They are no more expensive than the common yellow and pink insulation batts, but they are made from recycled materials. How “green’ is that?

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