Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why go GREEN?

Real Estate 411 - Top 5 Residential GREEN Remodeling Projects

What are the benefits of green remodeling? Green homes are healthier places to live, are better for the environment and can save money. They have better air quality than non-green homes, cost less to operate and significantly decrease the negative impact of the home on the environment. Green homes are also an immediate and measurable way individuals can make a difference in the environment.

As summer draws to a close and the kids go back to school, you may be thinking about taking on a new fall home project. Whether you are a homeowner, wishful homeowner, or real estate investor, here are our TOP 5 REGreen projects that not only will provide you an opportunity to refresh and restore your living environment, but will also improve your home’s value and get you started going GREEN! Together we can all make a difference in our environment!

Green Kitchen Remodel

REGreen Kitchen Opportunities:

Today’s kitchens are often the most active and multipurpose rooms in the home. This can mean that the kitchen provides the most opportunities for “greening” the home. From lighting and appliances to plumbing fixtures and interior finishes, the kitchen is packed with ways to optimize form and function while minimizing environmental impact.

• Upgrade or replace existing windows and doors
• Install low water-use kitchen faucet
• Install effective kitchen ventilation
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Install energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, and cooking
• Consider flooring made from natural or rapidly renewable materials
• Select cabinets made from greener materials
• Install environmentally preferable countertops
• Set water temperature no higher than necessary
• Use environmentally preferable cleaning materials and strategies

Green Bath Remodel

REGreen BATH Opportunities:

The greatest opportunities for greening a bathroom remodel come from managing water, but in two very different ways: managing incoming use (in pipes) and outgoing flows (both liquid and vapor). Green bathrooms need the highest performing faucets, showerheads, and toilets. But they also need walls designed and constructed to handle both liquid water and high humidity, and exhaust fans that efficiently and quietly move water vapor out of the space. The bathroom is also a good place to invest in durable surfaces, ones that stand the test of time both aesthetically and functionally.

• Properly detail windowsills in wet areas
• Ensure that window and skylight installation includes proper air
sealing and flashing
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Replace toilets with high-efficiency toilets
• Install low water-use showerheads
• Install water-conserving bathroom faucet aerator
• Choose high-efficiency water heater and set water temperature no
higher than necessary
• Consider environmental preferability of piping material
• Limit use of wall coverings in high moisture areas
• Choose hard-surface flooring

REGreen BEDROOM Opportunities:

Most of us spend more time in our bedroom than in any other room in our home, so it makes sense that the materials installed and the resulting air quality in these spaces should be the cleanest and healthiest possible.

The eight or so hours that we spend asleep each day should be restorative for our bodies and our spirits. Healthy air, confidence about freedom from potential hazards, such as electromagnetic fields, and relaxing aesthetics all contribute to the sense of well-being found in bedrooms. The bedroom may be the only place a homeowner can find a quiet, private respite from a hectic lifestyle. And when we are ill, the bedroom needs to be a space that supports healing.

• Provide fresh air as part of ventilation system
• Make sure ducting is clean
• Use low or zero-VOC interior paints and finishes
• Select wood subflooring that is FSC-certified and low/no-
• Choose environmentally preferable carpet and rug products
• Select carpet cushion that does not contain brominated flame-
• Select solid furniture made from green and safe sources
• Minimize use of plush and porous materials
• Choose environmentally preferable fabrics
• Choose furniture finished with least-toxic products

Green Workspace Remodel

REGreen LIVING and WORKING Opportunities:

In most homes, the traditional living space configuration—kitchen, dining room, living room, den—has been reconfigured for lifestyles that are more contemporary and shared rather than separate functions: workspaces in the kitchen or living room, entertainment in the den, dining in the kitchen. When remodeling green, the goal is to rework existing spaces for new or combined functions rather than add new spaces.

• Provide for additional ventilation and air-conditioning needs in
certain activity areas
• Provide adaptable lighting for multiuse spaces
• Select energy-efficient Energy Star–rated office equipment
• Consider flooring made from certified or reclaimed wood
• Choose environmentally preferable carpet and rug products
• Select ergonomic furniture and office equipment
• Select furniture from suppliers that practice fair and safe
manufacturing processes
• Choose furniture finished with least-toxic products
• Support local artisans as well as indigenous people
• Provide for paper recycling

Green Outdoor Living

REGreen OUTDOOR Opportunities:

Outdoor living space can range from a wood-framed deck to a stone patio to a trellised outdoor kitchen. A green outdoor living space expands the square footage of the home with the least amount of materials, connects the home and its occupants to the outdoors and to nature, and can involve landscaping that improves site drainage and reduces outdoor water consumption. Outdoor living space improvements can be a great do-it-yourself project. Although we tend to think of this space as private and backyard focused, front space and wraparound front porches that can create a sense of neighborhood are important to consider as well.

• Maintain adequate slope and drainage away from house when
creating outdoor living areas
• Make use of trees and landscaping to reduce cooling loads
• Provide rainwater collection system
• Provide for edible plants in landscape design
• Use environmentally preferable patio materials
• Use naturally rot-resistant, responsibly produced wood for decks
• Use recycled-content plastic or composite decking boards
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Choose efficient hot tub or spa
• Choose environmentally friendly outdoor furniture and accessories

To learn more about REGREEN and download the complete REGreen project guidelines, visit

To find a GREEN Designated real estate agent to help you start your GREEN project, contact or call 800-451-8055.

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