Homes - Renovating

Environmentally friendly renovations

Consider the environmental impact of your choices and learn how to make your next renovation environmentally friendly.

Regardless the time of year, many of us spend time pondering all of those tasks (large and small) we've been meaning to get to around the house. From replacing kitchen appliances, to installing new lighting, to renovating an entire room or floor, there's never a bad time to tackle these projects. To help you clean up your renovations, we've talked to a group of experts who specialize in all things 'green'! Don’t wait until the dust has settled before you consider the environmental impact of your choices. Act now to make your next renovation environmentally friendly.

Start small
You certainly can't solve the world's energy crisis with one renovation. Nor can you be expected to paint a house 'green' overnight. "Instead of getting overwhelmed, start with small, simple tasks," says Cassandra Dass-Pearce, founder of Toronto-based Green for Life (greenforlife.ca). A certified green consultant, Cassandra works to help individuals and businesses make environmentally conscious decisions. Her suggestions include:

  • Install energy-efficient lighting (choose CFL or LED bulbs)
  • Have your home tested for indoor air quality
  • Ensure your living space is mould-free
  • Install a programmable thermostat to regulate indoor temperatures
  • Cover your hot-water heater with an insulated blanket to prevent heat/energy loss
  • Install low-flow showerheads in all of your bathrooms
  • Design a rain barrel to capture rainwater and re-use it to water your garden

Integrate the old with the new

"Every time we buy new materials it costs us money and increases our carbon footprint," says Yee Jee Tso, Managing Partner with Vancouver-based, ArtiZEN Home Renovations Inc. (artizenrenovations.com). While choosing new materials and appliances is what can make renovating so much fun, Yee encourages homeowners re-use whenever possible. "I had clients who made the 'green' decision to integrate their existing heritage trim-work into their renovation," he says. "Even though it wasn't made from sustainable materials, it did not expend any new energy because it already existed and the money they saved not buying new materials far outweighed the labour costs of dismantling and reinstalling it with care."

 

Image courtesy of Duro-Design

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