How to Go Green When Remodeling

Just because remodeling necessarily implies “changing your environment” doesn’t mean you have to fret about harming the planet when you replace your floors,go green ceilings and walls. In fact, the building industry, like every other nowadays, offers many eco-friendly options for renovating your space. And, when you think about it, even adding an addition is eco-friendly, considering you’re adding onto an existing structure, rather than despoiling unused land for a completely new one.

But, beyond this, there are many ways you can transform your home while also helping to preserve the environment. The following is a short list of some of the best of these options:

5 Green Remodeling Tips

1. Be Materials-Conscious

The most eco-friendly source for remodeling materials is decidedly local. But, if you don’t live in a forest and don’t have access to a mom-and-pop lumber yard, you can build with prefabricated wood products, such as studs, joists and trusses manufactured from smaller stock. These products are already sized and shaped to serve their intended function, so there is no waste, in cutting to size, from using them. Additionally, many big-box retailers carry products premade for use as trimming and deck work that are made of recycled plastics and wood. Most of all however, always use water-based finishes, paints and stains.

2. Choose Eco-Friendly Flooring

The volatile organic compounds found in some kinds of flooring can contaminate the air inside your home. It’s better to go with linoleum or natural-fiber carpeting, both of which can last decades and are made from renewable resources. The cork in linoleum, for instance, is harvested without damaging cork trees.

Better still, however, is carpet-like flooring made from reeds and grasses, as well as stone and ceramic tile and hardwood and bamboo. In any case, be sure to air out your house after installation whenever you use adhesives.

3. Insulate Properly

People do some of the greatest harm to the environment by wasting energy, and one major culprit for energy waste is poorly insulated homes. Energy waste isn’t just an environmental issue; it’s a financial issue. Consequently, making sure your home is properly insulated will both help the environment and save you money in air conditioning and heating your home. Otherwise, you are essentially throwing money out the window.

As for eco-friendly insulation materials, the building industry offers several, including loose-fill insulation made from recycled paper. One great way to renovate your home, save money and help the environment, then, is to simply use this material to re-insulate an existing structure. If you choose to do so, remember to re-insulate your heating and cooling ducts and to install windows made from insulated glass.

4. Go Solar

Yes, installing solar panels has a very high upfront cost, but you could eventually make your entire investment back by selling unused energy to the grid. But solar panels aren’t the only way to go “solar.” In fact, by simply choosing the correct window placement, size and ventilation in a new structure or addition, you can drastically reduce the amount of energy you use (and money you spend) heating your home.

5. Buy Green Appliances

It might not occur to you, but every time you turn on that old washing machine, you’re wasting immense amounts of water and electricity. In this case, again, a good way to save both money and energy is to update your appliances. In fact, finding energy efficient appliances is easier than ever as all major appliances must now have EnergyGuide labels attached to them, making it super-easy to compare models’ and brands’ energy and water consumption.


Contributing Author: Paul Kazlov is a “green” home modeling enthusiast that understands the importance of going green.  Paul writes for the Global Home Blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar.  Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.

Early Spring Landscaping

outdoor1(BPT) – People across the country are feeling the winter blues after an unusually cold and snowy winter. But with warmer weather arriving soon, you can create a feeling of spring indoors and out with some simple do-it-yourself projects.

Roll up your sleeves and embrace the season of growth with these home and gardening tips:

* A fresh coat of paint is the perfect way to bring springtime indoors. Find inspiration from outdoor hues such as fun yellows, vibrant blues or a bright blend of pinks, oranges and reds. Start with an accent wall, which you can complete in just a few hours for under $50 with supplies from your local home improvement store.

* Spread the spring theme from your freshly painted walls into your outdoor gardens. Start now by planting seedlings indoors for delicious edible plants and beautiful, colorful blooms you can enjoy all summer long. Lowe’s garden center offers regionally relevant plants and the tools necessary for potting, planting and transplanting seedlings into your backyard garden once spring arrives and the ground thaws. In the meantime, cherish the beauty of your indoor garden as it reminds you of the warm weather on the way.

* As temperatures begin to warm, time to enjoy the outdoors is just around the corner. Soon enough you’ll be relaxing with family and friends on your deck or in theoutdoor 2 backyard around a fire pit. Take time now to get prepared for spring and summer days. Decorate and furnish your outdoor space with allen + roth patio furniture from Lowe’s. From bistro sets perfect for enjoying breakfast to conversation sets that will make your guests linger during longer days, you can create a specialty look at affordable prices.

* Get a jumpstart on your landscaping projects by removing traces of winter from your yard. As soon as the snow melts and the ground thaws, pick up or mow leaves and fallen twigs, trim or prune the bushes and give your grass a professional look by edging along paved pathways. Kobalt offers all the tools you need in its new outdoor power equipment line. Launched this spring, the line includes seven cordless tools that all operate off a single, interchangeable, 40-volt lithium ion battery. The selection includes two push lawn mowers, a chainsaw, pole saw, string trimmer and edger, blower and hedge trimmer. No need to wait for all the batteries to recharge – just switch them out from tool to tool and you can spruce up the yard in no time.

Spring is calling with these simple, affordable DIY projects that are sure to leave the winter blues behind you. In a weekend or less, your home and backyard will feel a sense of spring renewal that will provide long hours of enjoyment for months to come.


Decorating With Light

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A combination of hinged roof windows and skylights, with décor enhancing and energy-efficient blinds, add style while providing natural light and fresh air.

(BPT) – Something about spring seems to inspire us to lavish attention on our homes. Whether enthusiastically cleaning or freshening decor, Americans seize spring as an opportunity to breathe new life into interior spaces. While painting and decluttering are great ways to revitalize home decor, for sheer spring-like impact it’s hard to beat decorating with light.

Incorporating light into interior design can go far beyond a few strategically placed, attractive lamps and some upgraded overhead lights. It’s possible to use both natural and artificial lighting to complement other decor and architectural elements, and to create a brighter, upbeat mood that’s perfect for warm weather. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few concepts to keep in mind as you begin decorating with light:

Natural beauty

There’s no debating the benefits of natural light for boosting mood. After dark, short winter days, spring brings abundant sunshine, and you can put all that natural light to work in your home. Boost daylighting by lightening up window treatments to admit as much sunshine as possible, choose fresh paint colors that interplay well with the direction from which light enters a room, and consider adding skylights to rooms that demand drama or where adding a window isn’t practical.

A relatively low cost home improvement that can be accomplished by a professional in a day or two or over a single weekend, adding a skylight not only enhances home decor, it delivers energy-saving benefits as well. Skylights can help reduce dependence on artificial lighting – saving money on electricity bills. And, if you choose an ENERGY STAR certified solar-powered, fresh-air skylight like those made by Velux America and add remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds, you can improve the skylight’s energy performance rating by as much as 45 percent while improving indoor air quality through the venting effect of open skylights (which close automatically in case of rain). -Solar-powered skylights and blinds qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit, as does the cost of installation. Visit to learn more.

Lightening colors

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Fresh air skylights with energy-efficient designer binds provide natural light, passive ventilation and privacy in bedrooms and baths.

Some hues absorb more light, making them appear darker which causes the room to look dark as well. Spring is a great time to lighten colors throughout the home, and not just wall colors. Fresh paint brightens any room, but to amplify the effect, choose lighter, less intense colors such as pastel yellows, peaches and soft blues.

Continue the color upgrade through key decorating elements such as upholstery fabric, accent rugs, window treatments and wall art. Choose colors that speak to you of spring, whether it’s an Easter egg pale purple, a cheerful sky blue or a bright grass green. Replace heavy winter drapes with translucent sheers that admit natural light and give rooms an airy, open feeling.

Upgrading other light sources

While you take steps to maximize the amount of natural light that enters you home, artificial lighting will always be needed, especially when spring showers darken the skies for a while. Choose light fixtures – including floor and table lamps – that continue the bright, easy atmosphere you’ve already created with color and natural light.

Keep in mind the importance of layering light with a mix of sources throughout a room, and choose lighting styles that fit the room’s purpose. For example, in kitchens where a lot of work gets done, overhead and under-counter lights provide the best illumination for cooking and other chores. In bedrooms, wall sconces and table lamps provide softer, more soothing light.

Don’t overlook energy efficiency when you’re revamping your artificial lighting. Spring is a great time to boost your home’s energy efficiency by replacing old, electricity-guzzling incandescent light bulbs with energy-sipping CFLs and LEDs. While these bulbs may cost more to purchase, you’ll save money over their usable life. says these bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescents, and can last three to 25 times longer.