By Paulette Sodemann
The Green Building movement is getting more buzz these days as homeowners and remodelers strive to reduce their carbon footprint. Going green in the home can mean many things from energy efficiency to recycling to remodeling instead of tearing it down and starting over.
“Remodeling provides an excellent opportunity to reuse existing materials while adding upgrades to the home that make it more energy efficient, less toxic, and more beautiful,” said Callen Designer Paulette Sodemann. “As the green movement grows, product selection is expanding too with many options for the environmentally-conscious homeowner,” she said “There is an abundance of countertop, flooring, and cabinet options, which are not only green, but look beautiful as well.”
- For countertops, consider bamboo, recycled glass, salvaged wood, butcher block, concrete, or stainless steel. Granite, of course, is still very popular, but instead of leaving a big carbon footprint by importing slabs from Brazil, Italy, Africa, or other faraway locations, consider sourcing locally, or within a reasonable radius.
- When it comes to wood cabinets, choose sustainable timber from fast-growth trees, such as maple, birch, alder, and poplar, species that typically grow to full size in 10 years. Wood cabinetry certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures that wood products come from fast-growth rather than slow-growth trees.
- Green flooring materials include eucalyptus, bamboo, Marmoleum®, linoleum, cork, and reclaimed wood. But again, even though many homeowners enjoy the features and benefits of cork and bamboo, consider the carbon footprint left to move the product from the point of origin to the point of distribution.
- Green remodeling also includes improving the quality of air inside the home. There are many sources that contribute to bad indoor air quality including outside pollutants and toxic chemicals existing in the home – such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from glues, sealants, paints, and coatings. Green remodeling seeks to remedy these issues with better ventilation systems and using wood, paint, and sealants that are low VOC.
- When choosing appliances, look for the Energy Star® or WaterSense® label for the best efficiencies. There is a wide array of kitchen faucets in pull-down, hands-free, and traditional styles that deliver the power needed in the kitchen, yet save water. Besides the Energy Star label on refrigerators and dishwashers, even more energy saving can occur with using a convection oven and induction cook top, which cook very fast, reducing usage of heat.
Callen’s design specialists have plenty of ideas on how to use green materials in your remodeling projects. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, to get started.
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