Top Five Green Building Trends to Include in Your Home Renovation

Green building trends

Mother Nature continues to influence the building industry as manufacturers, contractors and entrepreneurs work on innovations to move green building trends forward. Think about how to pay homage to the environment with your home renovation, including eco friendly materials, construction methods and overall designs. These top five trends will enhance any type of reno in your home.

Insulate the Right Way

Adding insulation to your home provides several environmental benefits. The right types of insulation help you to control heating and cooling costs by reducing heat loss, cutting back on wasted energy and shrinking your family's carbon footprint. But understanding which type of insulation to install may be confusing.

Avoid insulation products that contain toxic chemicals. Embedded chemicals may be released into the air over time, or pose a serious threat during a fire. Look for products with natural fire retardant qualities, as well.

Fiberglass insulation is often the least expensive option, but may break down or compress. Spray in insulation products work well for retrofits or projects to improve energy efficiency in an existing room. Ask your contractor about American-made AirKrete, a spray foam product made from concrete, water and air. This eco friendly insulation enhances the R-value of your home, reducing strain on your heating and cooling appliances and saving you money.

Consider Air Quality for Today and Tomorrow

Healthy air helps to reduce allergies, boosts immunities and allows your family to live more comfortably in the space. Many aspects of your home contribute to good air quality, and your choice of building materials and construction processes make a major difference.

Certain types of paint contain high levels of VOCs released during the painting process and far beyond. Choose paints with low levels of VOCs or better yet, none at all. Quality products from Benjamin Moore or CIL offer a broad range of stylish colors to suit any d�cor. Check store-brand products for VOC levels, as they may offer a more affordable option.

A difficult and time-consuming chore, paint removal also involves nasty chemicals. Ask your building restoration or renovation contractor about using eco friendly paint removal products. You may need to pay more in labor charges, but the benefits to air quality are well worth your investment.

Talk to your contractor about reducing the amount of dirt and dust during the home renovation. Although this seems like a losing battle, several simple steps can help to limit the spread of dust and maintain the best air quality possible. Consider having your duct work cleaned after the renovation is completed.

Walk on Eco Friendly Surfaces

You'll find a wide selection of green flooring products at your local flooring retailer, with bamboo and cork topping the list. Made from renewable resources and available in a broad range of colors, these products offer a durable finish ideal for kitchens, living areas and bedrooms.

Currently resurging in popularity, linoleum is considered environmentally friendly and represents one of the most durable flooring options. Linoleum is traditionally mounted on a backing made of jute, linseed oil, wood flour and pine resin, all natural products made from renewable resources. Forbo Marmoleum is one of Canada's leading options in kitchen and playroom flooring. With a lifespan of around four decades, this flooring is also biodegradable and antimicrobial—perfect for families and pet owners.

Some carpet manufacturers offer brands made from natural fibers and void of VOCs and toxic dyes. These tend to come at a premium cost, and must be installed with the correct underlayment for optimum durability and comfort, but the environmental benefits are significant.

Reclaimed or recycled hardwood flooring presents another option for your home renovation. Visit local salvage yards or browse the Internet for available products. An experienced wood flooring installer can transform old, discarded hardwood into unique and beautiful flooring planks. Hardwood also lasts for generations and improves property value in any room.

Highlight the Green in Your Greenspace

Designing an eco friendly space in the backyard is easier than you may think. Avoid the use of treated lumber (although chemical wood treatments no longer use arsenic, untreated wood provides the greenest solution) and plastics wherever possible. Insist on materials and design that highlight the natural beauty around you.

Stone patios and stone retaining walls offer strength and durability. You won't need to tear down and replace these hardscaping features, reducing the waste factor and saving you money over the long term. Look for attractive flagstone or granite to lay a patio or walkway. Recycled asphalt is an option for your driveway, although it requires replacement much sooner than a properly installed natural stone or concrete driveway.

Talk to your landscape contractor about the ideal plantings and trees for your soil and climate. Native plants do well and require less maintenance than exotic varieties, and rock gardens help with water conservation. Find out which types of grass grow well in your area. Rely less on pesticides and herbicides and lean on natural tactics to battle weeds and pests. Companion plantings and proper care go a long way in your lawn and garden.

Conserve Water for Well Being

Water conservation remains an important goal for every homeowner in North America. Although we have plenty of lakes and fresh water rivers, Canadians need to monitor their water usage and reduce waste to ensure healthy conditions continue.

Insulating your water pipes helps to improve efficiency in the system, but the main culprits for wasted water are in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Add fixtures that provide comfort without wasting water, such as an aerating faucet, low flow showerhead or low flow toilet.

This applies to the exterior of your home, as well as the interior. Eco friendly irrigation systems and hose adaptors allow you to save water outside as well as in. Practice water conservation measures during and after your home renovation to complement the design of eco friendly plumbing fixtures. Water only when necessary, at the right time of day and using the soft soak method to mimic natural rainfall.

Lessen your family's environmental impact with these five green building trends. Your home renovation can include the proper insulation for energy efficiency and specially designed paint and building material for better air quality. Install green floors, focus on creating a natural setting in the yard and remember to design for water conservation. These ideas will put you on the path to a greener planet and a happier home improvement project.

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