Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green Renovation, Repair and Remodeling: 3 More "R's"

One thing that you can count on is change. What really defines modernity is that change is constant and unpredictable. Change drives the economy of all durable goods. If something works and is desirable forever then there won't be many of it that need to be made. In American homes, that is why we renovate, repair, and remodel. It is also why we build new homes when there are many old homes for sale, but green renovation, repair, and remodeling, are what it is of consequence to this blog about how you should spend your money, and they are what interest me.

during the next week or so, I will detail some of the ways that you can do the 3 more green "r's" throughout your home. Because Flip That House always focuses on how you should do redo the kitchen to improve the saleability of a home I will start there.

Source: Creative Commons Image on Flickr by betsyjean79

On TV they are always talking about updating cabinets, and often pulling out quality custom cabinetry and replacing it with particleboard or plywood trash. Seriously. All they are doing is bringing VOCs and solvents into the home where there were none before. If your kitchen cabinets are more than fifty years old, I recommend that you keep them. You can paint or replace the doors, and if they are really in bad shape you can replace them, but remember that you are decreasing indoor air quality if you buy cheap cabinets.

Granite countertops are all the rage right now. They're pretty, but you can also get countertops that look like stone and are made from recycled materials instead of open quarries. There are ones made from recycled glass like EnviroSlab and Trinity Glass and even paper from Squak Mountain Stone which I mentioned a few weeks ago.

One place that it almost always make sense to invest is in more efficient appliances. The Energy Star label is a good place to get started. It's a designation created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to show products that have met certain efficiency standards. keeps up-to-date lists of the appliances that have received the Energy Star rating, as well as their actual energy consumption. Some Energy Star labeled products are much more efficient than others, so it is a good idea to read the numbers on the models you are considering. If you want to know more about how more efficient appliances can save you money as well as helping the environment, I recommend the book The Home Energy Diet by Paul Scheckel.

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