Houses and buildings are moving like crazy, but supply chains are still nuts!
Remodeling has been affected by all the craziness that is going on with homes and homebuilding. However, when we decide to do a remodel, we have the opportunity to do some amazing things to make our homes even better!
I am Marla, the Green Home Coach, and today, my occasional co-host, Tony Pratte, is joining me to have a conversation about remodeling and building. We will cover the building envelope, systems, and changing fixtures and finishes.
Build My Future
Build My Future is a one-day construction event. It is an interactive job fair designed to give high school students a hands-on opportunity to experience how things get done in the construction industry and skilled trades. I assisted in bringing a Build My Future event to Oklahoma City in 2019. We hosted another event in Oklahoma on October 26th, 2021, and I was both honored and excited to be part of it!
The labor shortage keeps on getting worse, but we need people to build houses. That is why events like Build My Future are vital.
There appears to be a trend towards making things more and more efficient, but we still need people-power on building sites and behind the brains to make it all work.
Commercial building versus home building
The commercial environment has done a much better job of adopting healthier, greener, and more sustainable building principles than the home building environment has done. That is so because the homebuilding environment is based on repeatability, while commercial building is based on one-and-done plans. So, with commercial building, everything gets re-engineered, and with home building, there is a set of plans.
The goal of homebuilding is to build as efficiently as possible, using the same plan but with some tweaks.
Bridging the gap
There are tremendous opportunities in the home industry for adopting greener and more sustainable building principles. People who do what I do help bridge the gap between the home industry and the commercial industry.
A labor of love
When remodeling a home, we often take products built in a repeatable fashion and tailor them to our specific needs and desires. Remodeling a home is usually a labor of love because it tends to be quite a challenging undertaking!
Whenever you remodel or redecorate a home, you have to make provision for unforeseen situations.
The building envelope
The building envelope is what protects the inside of a home from the outside. It includes the walls, the windows, the doors, the roof, the basement, and the foundation slab. That is the best place to start with a remodel or an upgrade if it involves tearing out or removing walls or building an addition to the house.
Some key things to do for the building envelope
- Do an air-sealing package. That should include the exterior walls, the base or floors, and the ceiling and roof.
- Caulk the joints if you see any light shining in from the outside.
- Seal everything up properly. Particularly around the windows, doors, and openings for electrical wires, plumbing fixtures, or anything else that has to go through the walls.
- When buying sealants, ask the salespeople for advice about the best products to use for each different area of the house.
- Put in healthier and better insulation than there was before. (You can get a low VOC insulation that will not off-gas as much as others. There is a certification called Green Guard Gold that independently verifies products that do not off-gas much.)
- Have a conversation with your contractors and sub-contractors about using greener and healthier products. If they don’t want to do things your way, find another contractor.
Windows and doors
Buy the best windows and doors that your budget will allow. Remember that windows are harder to replace than to install. Also, make sure that you put in windows and doors with the best insulation rating. It helps to work with an experienced home professional.
Replacing the roof shingles on your house will allow you to choose the best and healthiest options, even if that only means choosing the color. Use your common sense when making that choice. Pay attention to your region, and remember that dark colors absorb light and heat, while light colors reflect light and heat. The choices you make not only need to look good, but they also need to perform well.
If you get a renovation loan when buying a home, it will add all your renovation expenses to your mortgage. That means you can get all your renovations done before moving in. Look on www.desireusa.org for incentives and rebates to help you make your home just the way you want it.
Modern homes rely on systems for heating, cooling, and ventilation. Remodeling your home will provide an excellent opportunity for you to add a fresh air intake to your heating, cooling, and ventilation system.
You want to get the moisture out of your house because it could cause mold. So, you need a system that ventilates as well as heating and cooling your home. In some climates, you might also need a humidifier or a dehumidifier.
It is worth spending some extra money on a professional because that will ensure that things get done in the right way.
Zoning your system
A properly sized and zoned heating… system is achieved by carefully calculating the loads for the home and its occupants. Then it will not have to work as hard to achieve comfort and control. Properly sizing and zoning any system is key to achieving good outcomes and works even better with a high energy system.
There are various options for water heaters. You could select a tankless water heater, a high-efficiency tank, or even a solar water heater. Remember to look for the Energy Star label!
Maintaining your system
If you maintain your heating, cooling, and ventilation system it will last much longer. Use the best filters you can and don’t forget to change the filters regularly.
Fixtures and fittings
Replace your lightbulbs with LEDs, and whenever you replace your plumbing fixtures, get low-flow fixtures. (Unless you have an automated lighting system where the type of lightbulb you use matters.)
There are better options for flooring, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops, and paint. Always choose low or no VOC paint. You can use sustainable, low or no VOC, or recycled flooring, and use solid wood cabinetry. Always check your sources when using recycled items, and make sure that none of your building products contain formaldehyde.
Remodeling is a labor of love and we’re here to inspire you to make your home everything you want it to be!
For some of my fav products for remodeling and redecorating, go to Everyday Green Home and search “paint”, “lights”, etc.
Learn how to make your home healthier for you and our world in my Love Your Everyday Green Home
Book: Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies by Eric Corey Freed
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