By Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel / www.modernize.com
In the last few years, Canadians spent close to $70 billion a year on home renovations, with many homeowners electing to make their home more eco-friendly. Changing out traditional light bulbs for energy efficient alternatives or replacing faucets with water-saving aerated ones are a simple way to start down the path of greening your home. But if you are looking to perform more extensive renovations, these top green remodel updates from Home Improvement Leads are a great place to start in 2016.
Traditional hardwood floors are hardly ever harvested or manufactured in a sustainable way. However, if you are hoping for the same aesthetic with a far better carbon footprint, opt for reclaimed flooring that has been salvaged from other homes or hardwood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Cork or bamboo flooring are both incredibly durable and come in a wide variety of colors while still being eco-friendly.
Experts at the Canadian Solar Industry Association have projected Canada’s annual solar capacity to increase threefold by 2025, with growth in the residential market to continue its boom. Although the average solar installation can run upwards of $40,000, impressive municipal and federal incentive programs help the system pay for itself in as little as 8 years. Sometimes your best bet is to find the contractor who will provide quality solar installation so that you’ll meet the incentive qualifications and ensure warranties are not voided.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a group of chemicals that evaporate at low ambient temperatures, only to linger in the air for days, months, or even years to come. As homes have become better insulated, normal indoor VOC levels have grown to be about 50 percent higher than outdoor air. However, when new paint is added to your home, these levels can rise as much as 1,000 times that of outdoor air, which can cause a host of health problems. Protect your family and the earth by opting for low-VOC or VOC-free paint when changing your home’s color scheme.
Bamboo and Recycled Countertops
Countertops have come a long way from the chemical heavy laminates and environmentally-damaging quarries of the past. Sustainably sourced bamboo is both incredibly durable and gives your kitchen the warmth of natural wood. Also, if they get beat up a little more than you’d like, all you have to do is sand them down some to get them looking brand new again. On the other hand, recycled glass countertops are made from old stained glass, traffic lights, glassware, and more, making them available in a plethora of colors. They are also incredibly easy to maintain and should last you for 15 years or more.
If your renovations are going to be extensive, consider getting your home LEED certified to ensure that you’re living in the healthiest house possible for both your family and the world.