Whether it's a small project or a major addition, one important element to keep in mind as you make those choices is green design.
To make it easier to incorporate green elements in renovation projects, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to produce green remodeling guidelines for the homeowner, builder, designer and construction professional.
Green design not only reduces the impact on the environment and saves resources, it promotes a healthy lifestyle free of toxic materials and allergens. The increasing availability of new technology and innovative products makes it easy to achieve a healthy, safe and efficient home. In fact, anyone can implement aspects of green design. It can be as simple as purchasing bulk-product dispensers or as extensive as installing a tankless water heater. Here are a few ideas for the homeowner that chooses to go green:
Choose high-efficiency water heaters, low-flow toilets and showerheads, faucet aerators, and energy- and water-efficient appliances. Consider using bulk-product dispensers for body-care products.
Reuse existing flooring and subflooring when possible and look at flooring made from natural or rapidly renewable materials for new floors. Refinish wood floors using safe processes and with greener and safer materials. Avoid carpeting high-moisture areas or where spills could occur. Consider removable area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.
Make smart use of natural light and supplement it with efficient electric lighting such as compact fluorescent bulbs.
Use low- or zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, finishes, adhesives, grouts, caulking and sealants.
Choose cabinetry and other furnishings made from recycled or reclaimed materials or wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. There are a number of products on the market, including countertops, tables, chairs and flooring, made from a wide range of recycled and reclaimed materials. Select compact furniture that incorporates storage and consider reused, salvaged or antique furniture.
Set water heater temperatures no higher than necessary and conserve water use.
Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.