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Green remodeling: 5 easy ways to save the planet

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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Let’s face it — it’s easy to recycle paper and bring your own paper bags to the grocery store. When it comes to home remodeling, however, shopping for reclaimed lumber or a countertop made of recycled glass seems overwhelming. Here are 5 easy steps to green remodeling:

  1. Reuse home remodeling materials. Don’t be so quick to rip out old wood floors without refinishing them first. The same goes for old carpeting, which can be used in the basement, and old cabinets (the garage?). Here’s a state by state directory of building reuse companies from the Building Materials Reuse Association.
  2. Buy recycled and sustainable home remodeling materials. It’s easier than ever today to turn old glass bottles into wall tile. Bamboo, which is a grass, makes a great alternative to real wood.
  3. Shop demolition sales — a great way to get building materials on the cheap. To determine how much you’ll save the planet, try this handy environmental impact calculator from Seconduse.com.
  4. Think longevity when buying appliances. Spend a little more for a washer that has a 20-year lifespan.
  5. Recycle your building waste. Ask your remodeling contractor to line up a business to haul away and recycle old drywall, lumber and other building products.

Green remodeling is much easier than you think and its strength is growing. According to recent stats released by Buildingonline.com:

  1. 17 percent of the overall housing market was “green” in 2011.
  2. Green building is expected to grow from $17 billion in 2011 to $87 — $114 billion by 2016.
  3. 34 percent of remodeling contractors expect to be doing more “green” by 2016.

Psyched about green remodeling? By planning ahead and involving your remodeling contractor, you can refurbish your space and save the planet … one house at a time!

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