As gas prices increase more homebuyers are moving closer to the city, their jobs and hubs of activity to decrease travel costs for themselves and the whole family. In the article “Green in the City Part 1" we discussed compact fluorescent light bulbs, tankless water heaters, low flow toilets and how to use power strips and surge protectors to conserve energy. In rural and urban environments green building and eco-friendly renovations that work for existing houses, town homes, condos and apartments are in higher demand. Whether you have a large budget or almost no budget you can reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs. Green home remodeling and practices are a cost effective way to save energy and money every month.
Low Flow Faucets and Shower Heads
Another great addition to any home or commercial property is low flow faucets and showerheads. Low flow faucets and showerheads use less GPM or gallons per minute, yet they still provide the necessary water pressure. Efficiency faucets and showerheads can be purchased in a variety of styles to suit your personal needs.
Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Windows and Doors
Leaks around windows and doors can be one of the worst energy drains in older residential and commercial real estate. If you are not sure where your leaks are on a windy day take a candle and place it in front of different windows and doors. Watch the flame and see where the air originates. If you have traditional, single pane windows with storm windows then consider caulking the storm window frame on both the interior and the exterior of the house. If you have a larger budget invest in new, double pane windows, especially Low E double pane windows, which have a thin layer of silver that lets in light, but not heat. To seal old doors consider re-hanging doors that are loose or have difficulty closing. Also add door sweeps to the bottom to keep air from escaping along with weather stripping.
Avoid Chemical Exposure with All Natural Carpets and Flooring
The off gassing of new carpet and even some rugs has generated a lot of consumer concern. If you are replacing carpet be sure and buy carpet made with all natural materials or at least unroll the carpet outside in order to allow the chemicals to dissipate. This helps you avoid poor indoor air quality. To avoid chemicals found in flooring consider eco-friendly options such as linoleum alternatives, pressed cork or bamboo flooring.
Protect Indoor Air Quality with Low or No VOC Paints
Residential and commercial real estate can also become greener by using low or no VOC paints, stains, and finishes. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) are found in many different products but especially in paints, lacquers and finishes. VOC's are highly toxic, like chemicals found in the off gassing of new carpet. Nontoxic, VOC-free paints or low-VOC can be found in any color and are now commonly found online and in hardware stores across the country.
For more information about green building and eco-friendly renovations read “Go Green In The City Part 1".
Elaine VonCannon is an award winning REALTOR with RE/Max Capital in Williamsburg, Virginia. She specializes in retirement and relocation in the Williamsburg, South Eastern Virginia area and in Virginia Estate properties. To learn more visit http://www.voncannonrealestate.com or http://www.estatesinvirginia.com