Green building has been a hot topic in the remodeling and design industry for quite a while, especially in older homes. More recently, what makes your home environment healthy is just as important as sustainability in making green choices. Older homes are typically inefficient and provide unhealthy indoor air. The basics of building science and designing for the environment are necessary to consider and the knowledge is there in making homes healthier. As a Green Certified Professional remodeler, Steve Shinn and the team make sure sustainability, performance, and design come together.
“We need to look at the home as a system and not just a bunch of little parts,” Shinn says. Homework Remodels help homeowners figure out which enhancements promote healthy indoor environments – without breaking their budgets. Below are some things to consider when planning for your next remodel and creating a healthy home.
First, test for potential issues
A healthy indoor environment free from VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), formaldehyde, mold, and other pollutants not only makes your home more enjoyable to be in, but it can also help prevent asthma or other respiratory illnesses.
Make sure your home is not harboring mold, radon gas, carbon monoxide. There you can test with kits available to consumers.
Be green in your home improvement practices
One of the best ways to ensure good indoor air quality is to think ‘green’ when taking care of your home. Using green cleaning supplies, minimizing the use of sealants and purchasing furniture with low risk of off-gassing can help you keep the air you breathe healthy. Choosing environmentally sound green flooring and countertop materials will help you manage air quality as well.
Deconstruct instead of demolishing
When remodeling your home, think strategically about what to deconstruct and what items to keep. Demolition has an immense impact on the environment due to material waste. It also can save you money when you find materials within your own home to reuse in new ways. Light fixtures, molding, cabinets and even doors can be repurposed.
Refresh instead of replacing
Repurposing items and materials are still an ongoing trend. Saving natural resources and reducing the emissions from the manufacturing and transportation of these materials saves the environment.
Cut down VOC’s
Environmental concerns include surface finishes for building products. Choose products that are low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs are emitted by a variety of home products. As people become more aware of what is in the products that surround them in their homes, they care about how much their paints or carpets are off-gassing. From cabinetry to flooring, these products often have added urea-formaldehyde, which emits gases and harms healthy living. Glue, sealant, paint, and coating may also have toxins. By moving away from the look of surfaces embalmed in smooth polyurethane, you are also improving the indoor air quality.
Amp up ventilation
To suck bad air out of a home and bring fresh air in, you need to install adequate ventilation. Add a fan in your kitchen and bathroom and it will help remove odors, bacteria, humidity and cut down mold growth.
If your home is sealed tight, you will also need to install a small reverse fan that introduces fresh air into the house. This improves air circulation and helps stop the growth of mold.
And, open your windows more often in general, and let fresh air circulate in your home!!
Add air filtration
According to the EPA, the air inside your home could be up to five times more polluted than the outside air. But there’s no need to hold your breath—air purifiers can help clean the air by capturing microscopic contaminants. The filters remove irritants like mold spores, pet dander, cigarette soot, and dust, making it easier for people with allergies to breathe.
“A lot of new air conditioning manufacturers are providing high-efficiency HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration systems that are built into the ductwork,” Shinn says. “It will help reduce heating and cooling bills and keep your home cleaner.”
Another option is to build a green wall, setting out plants or growing herbs in your home creates more oxygen and filters out pollutants. Making design choices that respond to the human inclination to seek connection with nature – can be as simple as adding some literal green to your living room with a plant or two.
Making your home healthy
Wellness-focused changes can include paint, flooring or cabinetry with non-toxic materials, touchless faucets that reduce germ spread, circadian lighting that improves sleep, water, and air purification systems. Ready to make your home more healthy? Let us do your homework for you! Call (602) 478-5102 for a free 60-minute consultation. Learn more about us here.
"Green building has been a hot topic in the remodeling and design industry for quite a while, especially in older homes. More recently, what makes your home environment healthy is just as important as sustainability in making green choices."
Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area
Steve Shinn, owner of the design-build firm Homework Remodels became the first remodeler in Phoenix to obtain Green Certified Professional (GCP) from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). This certification recognizes remodelers who apply green or sustainable practices to their business.