Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So you want to join the Eco-bandwagon? What are the "green" options available?

Obviously the world has discovered the idea that we need to be more eco-conscious when building these days, it's our responsibility to the planet that so graciously allows us to breathe and live. There are so many options available to add green building to your home projects. You can start with the studs on up in a new home but you don't have to start from scratch, there are also many options that you can throw into the mix with home renovation projects.

Solar paneling, this may be the most obvious choice of eco products. Installing paneling is no simple feat but certainly do-able. It can be quite pricey to have installed but overtime you will see a return on your energy costs. But don't let this scare you away from the eco-bandwagon there are so many more options!

Along the same lines as solar paneling are solar skylights, a tube that extends to the outside of your roof allowing natural light into the home. Out with the lightbulbs and lamps, in with the Solatubes! They even offer dimmable switches so that you can control how much light comes in from your tube!

Recycled denim insulation is an amazing product, it is insulation for your home that is made out of recycled denim. Yep those jeans you put on every day actually have a bigger use than covering up your naked behind. Not only is this insulation eco-friendly, it also offers sound dampening qualities and is naturally fire retardant.

So if you thought the jean insulation was off the wall it gets better. Check into Sheep Wool Insulation, made right from the fluff of our little Bah Bah Black Sheep! It offers a 10% higher insulating factor than traditional fiberglass insulation, has natural water resistant properties, and is obviously sustainable. SheepRoll and SheepBatt are the next on our list of green products!

Alternative flooring options like cork and bamboo are a great option. The wood from these trees/plants is generated much more quickly than traditional woods like oak and cherry therefore it is a much more sustainable resource. Thanks to new technology you are now able to get cork and bamboo flooring in a variety of colors and patterns making it just as design conscious as previously used wood flooring.

Recycled glass has several applications and don't let the word fool you into thinking "thrift store ugly"! You can purchase recycled glass tiles for things like bathrooms or backsplashes. Or even look into recycled glass countertops. All are offered in every color of the rainbow and leave a lasting unique impression. Bedrock Industries has an amazing selection of truly recycled glass, no colors or additives are put into these tiles they are made 100% from post consumer glass.

Paint, now this ranks at the top of "easiest to implement" into your green efforts. Start by purchasing paint with low to no VOC's. Volatile Organic Compounds can be emitted by a variety of things in your household so why not eliminate one source by changing up your paint. Head to your local Home Depot and pick up some Freshaire Choice paint and go to town in on your walls.

You can extend the no VOC choice into other products used around your home such as caulking, sealants, and adhesives. Take a few minutes before purchasing and check out the packaging to make sure you grab the proper option.

Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs, or CFL's, would rank #2 on the easiest to implement. Just changing out the bulbs in your home can make a world of difference. They use 75% less energy than a traditional bulb. And one bulb will save you $30 over it's lifetime! Make sure they're Energy Star rated and invest the down payment into switching over your home, you will regain your money back in less than 6 months.

High Efficiency Toilets, get rid of those outdated and undoubtedly dirty toilets and replace them with 1.6 gallon per flush toilets or dual flush toilets. This will conserve water and help out your pocketbook! The dual flush toilets offer 2 flush settings, one using more water than the other, so if you have a "full" bowl you use the higher flush setting... you can infer the details here!

Low-E windows, or low emissivity windows work to make your windows more efficient. Essentially they contain a metallic oxide layer that reflects infrared light back out reducing the amount of heat that enters your home through the window. Think of it like a tiny mirror inside your window that sends those hot sunbeams away from your home.

We've only scratched the surface of the multitude of options available. Do some research to decide which options make sense for you and your family. As always choose your contractor making sure that they have knowledge of these types of products and have the ability to propel you into the eco-friendly homeownership world!

-5280 Lady


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