In part one of this series I explained in my own personal opinion, making your home ‘green’ starts with energy efficiency. To review real quick, here were the 3 Green attributes that are most predominant in Green Homes:
- Energy Efficiency/Lower Carbon Footprint
- Quality and Durability
All of the others pretty much revolve around these in one way or another, even locally produced products. I recommend reading Part one if you have not already.
Now, let’s talk about making the home healthier. What you do to your home can help significantly those with allergies, asthma and many other auto-immune disorders and it all goes back to the beginning with making your home more energy efficient. Let’s go over each upgrade again and how it relates to a Healthier home:
- Sealing your home: By caulking your windows, re-weather stripping your doors, sealing up your A/C Ducts and air return you are also minimizing the amount of Dust, Pollen and other toxins or pollutants that enter your home from the attic or outside.
- Changing out your windows: It may be hard to believe but with Single Pane windows you get more dust in your home. Keep out the allergens from outside. For example, during the Hurricane recently, I could literally feel the wind coming through under my windows and hitting me in the face. You can bet mine are going to be replaced in the near future.
- Ventilation and Heat Radiation: Remember that sealing your home can be toxic. If you do some serious sealing, make sure that you get a fresh air exchange to take out the toxins. This gets in to the mechanical parts of your home to help keep it healthy.
By doing these energy efficient items first you can prioritize what you do next and have more control over the Indoor Air Quality in your home. Carpet? Nasty stuff. Get it out and make sure that you do not put in products that are petroleum based. Paint? Make sure to use Low/No VOC. It will minimize the fumes and toxins that stir up sensitivities. Everything you put in your home brings outside pollutants indoors. Just because it is being sold in stores, does not make it healthy. Do some research or send me an email if you have a question about it. I would be happy to help if I know the answer, or find someone that does.
Now on to Quality and Durability- This is HUGE for Green Building especially when retrofitting your home. How does Energy Efficiency relate to durability? Loosely related to efficiency it will make the systems in your home last longer. Your A/C systems, roof and other items should not have to work as hard making stay around for quite some time. Durability is more along the lines with not replacing items or having to do a lot to maintain them. For example, changing the siding on your home to a product alternative to wood that will last longer. Or maybe a sheetrock that does not crumble when it gets damp/wet in the bathroom. If the product does not last and is not durable, it will be trash and in the landfill.
From here the focus can be on other green products like using recycled products and other Healthier items in your home. You could look into renewable energy like solar panels without literally letting the air out through your windows and doors. Another idea is looking into locally produced materials, etc. When you start really digging in to remodel your home cosmetically you can look at products that will help with water conservation such as low flow water fixtures. The list is really endless with options to work around within your budget.
So there we have it. As we go through the Hypothetical Remodel series we will be going over some of this in detail. Do you have a question? Send one through ‘Ask The Expert’ page and myself or one of the other Houston Experts will get back with you or if you would rather you can give me a call anytime 281-635-9444.