No Picture
Basement Renovations

Is a Green Bathroom Remodel in Your Future? It’s Easier Than You Think!

If you’re planning a bathroom remodel in the near future, why not explore the new products and materials designed and produced to save money and save the environment? No longer in the expensive category of only a few years ago, these new products and materials compete very well with everything else out there. And when you compare the cost advantages over time, the allowances offered by manufacturers and the government, its crazy not to at least consider a green bathroom remodel.
Toilets, for instance, have come a long way, baby! Today you can’t even buy one that uses 3-plus gallons of water to flush. And, if you recall the buzz about the inefficiency of the newer “low flow” models of a couple of years ago, you’re operating on a false premise. A green bathroom remodel wouldn’t be complete without looking into a new toilet! New designs, larger discharge and smarter manufacturing provides toilets with operations that match their older counterparts flush by flush. In fact, you probably won’t even notice you’re doing your part for the planet when you flip the lever!
Your bathroom vanity countertop can also now be made to be both beautiful and Earth loving with the use of recycled materials. These include recycled glass, scrap aluminum, concrete and (if you can believe it) old recycled paper. Some very attractive countertops today are made by combining paper, fly ash-a by-product of coal combustion-and an eco-binder, such as epoxy. You may have even had a morning cup of coffee at a favorite bistro on a paper countertop and not know it! Some are made entirely of recycled glass, with a new unique look and are comparable in cost, strength, heat resistance and durability to granite.
The bathroom floor is getting some attention, too. Linoleum, invented in 1863 (think Civil War) now has some real competition. New types are so healthy for us and our environment that they cover the floors of many large Health Care facilities and hospitals. There are even floors made by using a pressed combination of burlap, canvas, linseed oil and flour! Almost makes me hungry. Laminate flooring can be manufactured to look like almost anything and tiles are made in a wild array of planet friendly styles and textures. Even the rugs have gone green!
What about the walls? Your green bathroom remodel could even mean painting the walls… er… green. How about soy based paint? Clay paint, which can look like adobe is a natural choice and one that will give the room a rustic or Tuscan feel. You can have your milk and paint it too… by using all natural organic milk paint. Not only do these paints look beautiful, but they last as long or longer than regular latexes. Also, new paints are coming on the scene all the time to not only make your home brilliant, but many are made to fight germs and reduce mold and mildew!
Low flow, water saving faucets and shower heads are designed now to feel just like the old kind, but use much less water. This is due to atomizers and pulsators that mix air and H2O and reduce the actual amount being delivered. This not only saves water, but the energy to heat the water as well. And, the new designs are very cool, with new materials and finishes to match anything!
So, before you start in on that bathroom remodel, think about making it a green bathroom remodel. Take a look around your bath and see what you can do to bring that room into the twenty first century! Then go spend some time in a big box retailer or plumbing or bath fixture store. See what they have to offer and how you can save some money and the planet while you’re there.

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No Picture
Kitchen Renovation

Green Kitchen: Tips For Going Green In The Kitchen

Today, we need to keep the environment in mind in most everything we do and that includes remodeling and building especially in the kitchen which is the room in the home that gets the most use. If you are either building a house that needs a kitchen design, or you are in the midst of a kitchen remodeling project, trying to be eco-friendly should be part of your plans. Here are a few green kitchen tips you might want to consider:
Cork, Bamboo or Recycled Flooring: When it comes to green kitchen tips, your choosing an eco friendly kitchen flooring can go a long way towards being green. Consider using a cork, bamboo or some other type of natural or recycled flooring product. There are a number of options out there, and most are very durable. The most readily available recycled flooring is a rubber flooring. These are made of 80 – 100% post consumer product including tires. Rubber floors are extremely durable and come in a variety of colors and styles. Cork and bamboo, while not recycled, both offer quickly renewable products that don’t require deforestation of millions of trees to produce these types of floors. Both cork and bamboo are natural products as well.
Reclaimed Wood Flooring: If you prefer an older, more traditional or even antique look, you might want to consider reclaimed wood flooring which will give you a traditional look in your eco friendly kitchen. This is exactly what it sounds like; used wood that has been removed from another house or building, then reconditioned and made ready to install in your home. For the rich warmth of aged wood, this product can provide the look without destroying more trees.
Eco-friendly Lighting: When it comes to going green in the kitchen, you should choose your lighting carefully. When you choose the lighting for your new or remodeled kitchen, you can use products that will keep to the green theme. First, look to the types of bulbs you will use. Fixtures that have CFL bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs use one quarter of the power. LED lights can reduce energy consumption by 80-90%. Lamps and fixtures that use LED lights are usually built exclusively for that type of bulb. CFL bulbs can be used in any fixture that accepts a regular incandescent bulb. In addition to artificial lights, also consider the use of skylights and sufficient amounts of energy efficient windows in your plan. By making natural light readily available in your kitchen, you can significantly reduce the need for artificial light sources, at least during the day. You may also want to consider solar powered options for lighting.
Recycled Counter Tops: One of my favorite green kitchen tips is recycled glass counter tops which are quickly becoming a popular product for use in kitchens. These glass counter tops are very durable, and have a variety of styles that actually mimic the look of granite and marble. They are a mixture of recycled glass with a concrete base, or resins that are non-petroleum based that can be used for safe and beautiful eco-friendly kitchen countertops.
Energy Efficient Appliances: One of the most talked about ways of going green in the kitchen is to by energy efficient appliances. When you are ready to outfit your kitchen with new appliances, be sure to look for appliances that are marked with the energy saver labeling. All large appliances are now energy rated, so you will be able to comparison shop for the most efficient ones out there.
Solar Power: While many people think that solar energy only comes in the form of a whole-house system that includes panels that cover the roof of your home, there are other options that can provide solar power for efficient applications that are much less complicated. Rather than taking on the large scale solar conversion for all your electric needs, you could consider a small solar system that runs your water heater to take care of all your hot water needs which can help add to your eco friendly kitchen design. These systems are compact, and designed to work exclusively on your electric hot water heater system. This type of system costs only a fraction of what a whole-house solar system costs, and can save you hundreds of dollars per year off your electric bill.
Once you have your new eco-friendly kitchen in place, there are a few things you can do every day to be more eco-friendly and live a greener life in your kitchen:
Use Fabric, Not Paper Whenever Possible: This goes for shopping as well as kitchen clean-up. When you do your grocery shopping, opt for fabric, reusable bags to carry home your purchases. This keeps literally tons of plastic and paper out of the landfills each year. Another fabric …