There have been a great many articles on using “green” materials in remodeling and new construction. Green refers to materials that have been recycled or sustainably produced so that no harm is done to the environment in their harvesting, manufacturing or their “afterlife” – their recycling/ re-use capability.
Today we are fortunate that there are many sustainably produced products to choose from for remodeling kitchens, bathrooms and any other part of your home. I was impressed with the LEED certification for the beautiful solid surface countertops in LG Hausys Hi-Macs Eden line of countertop products. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the standard for environmentally sustainable construction.
Eco-friendly decorative toilets with dual flush technology are an excellent way to conserve water use. Popular, high quality brands such as Kohler, Karsten, American Standard and Toto, among others, provide fashionable and at the same time water conserving toilets. We invite you to check out their websites to see the wide array of fixtures available.
Carpeting that has a high recycled content is an earth friendly choice; millions of tons of used carpeting are discarded every year in the United States and the synthetic materials will take thousands of years to decompose. While you are replacing the carpeting don’t forget the underlayment; it should be recyclable as well.
Another advantage of green products is that most produce very little, if any VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). The off-gassing of new paint, glues and fabrics is problematic for people with allergies or for those who are concerned about the long term effects of breathing these fumes. Low VOC products include interior finishes that are low to zero-VOC as well as paints, stains and wall coverings. In addition, wood floor finishing can now be accomplished with water-based urethane products.
What does all this mean for us? Most of us are interested in how to make our home furnace or cooling system work more efficiently and in finding out where we can purchase sustainable products for our kitchen and bath remodels at a reasonable price. When it really comes down to it, we have to consider the first costs for a remodel or new construction. Can we afford all these “green” materials? If the cost is too high, then it won’t happen. The good news is that with increasing interest and purchasing of sustainable materials, the costs are coming down; in fact right now many products are comparable to less “green” materials. So when you plan that next remodeling project, consider the green alternatives before making a final decision.
Some helpful websites for “green” materials are listed here:
Low VOC materials http://www.naturalandsustainable.com/category/low-vocs/
Plumbing fixtures: http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/selector/selector.jsp?waterSense=1
Countertops from a local company: http://www.squakmountainstone.com/products.html