If you’re planning on some new home additions and you’ve had green remodeling on the brain then this is the perfect opportunity to start moving in a new direction with your home. There’s a different take on going green though; while saving the environment is great there are also a number of health benefits that come from doing a green remodeling and building home additions with the environment in mind.
Arsenic, volatile compounds and even vinyl chloride fumes might seem like things you wouldn’t normally encounter but these are common chemical additives and byproducts that are associated with common building materials that were used to construct your home. When you consider remodeling from a green standpoint you’re making your home safer for everyone living under your roof – especially your pets.
Here are proven green strategies for remodeling and building home additions that ensure a safe environment for your family:
Formaldehyde free insulation: Use recycled fiberglass, rock wool or cellulose insulation as the products are very much environmentally friendly and don’t contain any formaldehyde – the common additive in fiberglass batt insulation.
Use Low or No-VOC paints, sealants and wood treatments: Most manufacturers are going this route but you still need to be careful about your selection. Most finishing compounds used on walls, flooring and other locations in the home traditionally emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for a long period after they’re applied – even when dry. Low or No-VOC products minimize these contaminants and in some cases get rid of them completely
Avoid MDF (medium density fiberboard): MDF and particle board are common materials used in budget countertop and cabinet construction. They also give off urea formaldehyde (a known carcinogen). If you use these products, sell exposed areas with a no-VOC sealant or paint.
Avoid vinyl: Don’t install vinyl floors. Splurge a little where you can and get an FSC-certified wood like bamboo, cork, stone or ceramic tile. Vinyl gives off vinyl chloride fumes. Even carpeting gives off toxic fumes from the bonding materials that are used, the dyes, fire retardants, anti-static treatments, etc.
Choose the right windows: Invest in quality windows that allow in and retain heat within the home. The more heat that’s collected, the less the furnace runs. Forced air stirs up pollutants, dust and allergens which can cause chaos with your family. This is also a great way to reduce your heating costs around the home.
Properly ventilate your home: You might think an “airtight” home is the best choice but poor ventilation can lead to moisture and mold problems if moisture becomes trapped. Mold tops the list of harmful indoor contaminants so it’s important for your home to be ventilated properly. When building new home additions it’s easy to design a system to improve airflow and properly ventilate your home.
When you’re building new home additions, you have the opportunity to start improving the quality of life for your family. It’s also a good way to research what you may need to do to start improving the existing structure of your home so it meets the standards of current green living. For better design ideas and green remodeling trends, talk to a general contractor in your area.