Unfortunately, the construction and renovation industry is responsible for a lot of waste in the landfills. If you’re thinking about a home renovation, trusting green general contractors in Vancouver can help eliminate or reduce that waste. More than that, your home renovation will be completed using energy-efficient, sustainable, and health-conscious materials. That means it’s better for your health, will reduce energy use and costs, and is better for the planet too.
Why choose a green renovation?
It reduces our impact on the planet
There is a more significant push for homeowners to ‘go green’ with their building and renovation practices. There is a global concern for the impact of climate change and how that might shape our future. More people are taking responsibility for their carbon footprint and doing what they can to contribute to a sustainable future. That mindset has made eco-friendly renovations more popular.
If every home were renovated with energy-efficiency and sustainability in mind, it would make a tremendous impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It would also reduce landfill waste. Improving thermal efficiency, reducing water waste, investing in energy-efficient lighting, appliances, insulation, and HVAC systems can all be a positive part of a green renovation.
Renovations can be wasteful without thinking green throughout the process
Unfortunately, the renovation industry is responsible for a lot of waste and negative environmental impact. Unused materials, and many items that could be reused or recycled, end up in the landfill every day in massive quantities. General contractors in Vancouver that are committed to eco-friendly remodeling do everything they can to reduce that negative impact.
Reduce energy use means you’ll save on energy costs
Cutting back on the amount of energy used and wasted in a home can reduce your carbon footprint. The less electricity and water you use, the lower your utility bills will be. If your home has excellent thermal performance, you won’t have to worry about energy escaping from the house. That could mean lower heating bills in the winter, and cooling bills in the summer. Plus, if your heating and cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the home comfortable, it will have less strain and wear and tear. An energy-efficient home allows mechanical systems and appliances to last longer, with fewer significant repairs needed. Reducing the strain on your mechanical systems and appliances is another money-saving benefit to a green renovation.
Some statistics show specific returns on investments. We have included a sample of those near the end of this article.
Better air quality is better for your health
Many conventional renovation products and materials contain chemicals that could be harmful to your health. The adhesives that are found in particleboard, MDF, plywood, and many laminated products could contain formaldehyde. This chemical can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat for your family and pets. It is also a known carcinogen linked to causing cancers like leukemia.
Some products could cause volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that will emit gases into the air. They can have short-term and long-term health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation. Some people might feel nauseous or have a headache. In extreme cases, VOCs can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Products to look out for include paints and solvents, cleaners and disinfectants, building materials, and furnishings, especially if they are made with adhesives. Choosing the right products is something O’Brien Contracting can help you with.
It’s better for the planet than building a new house
Sometimes your home just does not function for you as you need it. You might have a growing family or need to accommodate someone’s changing mobility challenges. If you want a new home, consider renovating the home you have instead of building a new home to accommodate your changing needs. As long as your circumstances allow it, and you are happy with your neighbourhood, this is a great option.
Building a new home will use a tremendous amount of energy and materials. It will also contribute to urban sprawl, which increases energy use and the use of resources in your city. Fixing up the house you already have is the first step to a green renovation. With green home improvements, you are recycling and reusing what you already have!
What is the ROI of green renovations?
A green renovation will reduce energy costs and improve the resale value of your home, but what is the real return on investment? We found some statistics for a range of eco-friendly home renovations and upgrades that will give you an idea of the return you might get over the years.
Windows are the number one culprit for energy loss in a home. Whether its heat in the winter or cool air in the summer – it’s all going out the window. This article says that older windows are responsible for up to 30% of the energy you use to heat or cool your home. With new windows that are ENERGY STAR certified, you can lower your energy bills by up to 15%. Think about that 15% over the lifespan of your windows, and you’ll see it has a high ROI.
New attic insulation
According to Remodeling’s most recent cost vs. value report for attic insulation, this upgrade will recover 107.7% of its price. That means you can actually make money on the renovation. If it costs you $1,300 to blow new insulation through your attic, you could see $1,400 added to the value of your home.
Compared to conventional fixtures, your low-flow toilet, faucets, and showerheads can reduce water consumption and give an ROI of about 20%. Not only will this save in water use and sewage costs, but you will spend less heating the water too.
Tankless water heater
If you are still using a storage-tank style water heater, you could be using more energy than required to heat the hot water you need in the home. Heating water in a conventional hot water tank can consume about 16% of your home’s total energy use. A tankless hot water heater only heats water as needed. This report did the math and showed that a tankless water heater uses about 50% of the energy a conventional water heater uses. It won’t be long before you cover the costs of installation and start to see a return on investment.
Increased resale value
Homebuyers are interested in a home that have energy-efficient upgrades. For example, windows, efficient appliances, and high-efficiency HVAC systems are on the top of the list for home buyers. Buyers prefer green homes for all the same reasons: they save energy, money, and are better for their health and the environment.
If selling your home is part of the future plan, you should document the green upgrades you’ve made to your home. Include any certified green home features you have included in your renovation, as this could help raise the property value when it comes time to sell.
Choosing O’Brien Contracting for your green renovation
Our vision is to do our part to create a more sustainable future. By implementing green building practices and improving efficiency in the home, we can do our part. If you are interested in a sustainable renovation, we can help create a design for your remodel that will improve your home’s efficiency. We will, of course, improve its function and aesthetics as well.
Our process includes designing with sustainability in mind. For demolition, we try to recycle as much material as possible, and donate items for reuse. For any hazardous materials, we ensure they are disposed of responsibly. We will also help you choose sustainable, high-efficient materials. From low-flow fixtures in the bathroom, sustainably sourced wood for cabinets and other millwork to upgraded insulation, windows, and doors – your home will be both efficient and beautiful. Together, we can build a greener future.