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Getting Greener in Your Home

The recent reports of the first 400ppm CO2 readings detected in the atmosphere have caused ripples of fear for those concerned about the environment.

And even if you aren’t bothered about the world around you, you’ve got to admit that the cost of running your home isn’t getting any cheaper. This means green construction can be a sensible option, both for selfish reasons and for concerns for the planet.

There are many different aspects behind environmentally friendly builds or improvements and all will be dependent on your budget, but here are some things to look out for:

  • Materials and finishes

You might have allergies or respiratory problems in your family that need to be considered when choosing paints or finishes on floors and trims. If you’re having refurbishment work done, you’ll want to ask about the materials being used. Question the origin of the materials being used: are they from sustainable forests? Are they ethically sourced if from outside Canada?

Image Credit: Greening Homes

  • Consider green alternatives

Have you considered using recycled materials such as cork flooring or aluminum sinks or countertops made from mixed coloured concrete and glass? Are you choosing concrete when stone might be better? Are there alternatives to plastics you’ve got planned for your home? Ask questions about the materials being used or how to improve what’s already in your home. And if making improvements, ask about safe disposal before you just throw anything in the trash.

  • Energy efficiency

Sensibly you’ll be looking at factors like window and door glazing and insulation anyway, but you may want to investigate how to get the best ratings and what savings are available. You might pay more initially for these items, but you’ll save money in the long run. Water-saving toilets, low-flow showerheads, and a host of technology improvements can help cut bills and relieve pressure on the environment. Make use of things like solar panels and rainwater harvesting to really boost your sustainability.

  • Certification and standards

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system from the Canada Green Building Council sets standards for sustainability and it’s worth checking to see if there are any LEED projects being built in your area. But a home could still be sustainable without a LEED rating. Green Globes has another checklist. Some communities have improving codes for building, with the environment in mind, so look at both the requirements of a new build and the options available. A good real estate agent will also be able to help suggest new properties that using green building standards.

Image Credit: Greening Homes

Whatever your view of climate change, greener homes are sure to become the norm. It is not sustainable to our wallets to continue with inefficient homes or safe to use products that harm us or the natural world. As more people seek green options, the market will flourish and competition will bring new ideas and to help your bank balance and improve our planet.

A modest investment towards greening your current home, or a healthy investments in a new eco-home, will pay off in the long run for your family.

Do you have more green ideas? Please share them below and check out for more useful articles and general contractors who can help you build a greener home, while caring for the environment.

By Vanessa Roman, host of HGTV’s Reno vs Relocate 

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