3 Home Projects to Install Environmentally-Conscious Upgrades

Reader Contribution by Paul Kazlov and Global Home Improvement
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It’s past time to say that conversations on eco-friendliness, sustainability, and green living are abound. Going green isn’t a fad. It’s a lifestyle, a smart lifestyle that has found its way into the hearts of many homes–and rightly so. As homeowners continue to discover more environmental benefits of sustainable living, at home and at work, the rest of us are benefiting thanks to the countless  ideas to improve the “greenness” and quality of our living space. If you’ve been doing some research on your own, you’ve  probably read about compact fluorescent lamps, programmable thermostat, and even the advantages of growing houseplants.

However, no matter how well you equip your home to increase its eco-friendliness, there’s always room for improvement. Here are a few unique eco-friendly remodeling ideas you might want to tackle in your next project:

Explore Green Flooring Options

Investing in earth-friendly flooring does not mean that you have to kiss the classy wood floor goodbye. Instead, homeowners can make a huge difference by hiring remodeling contractors/companies that holds the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

FSC is an international non-profiting organization that seeks to promote responsible forest management. To be FSC-certified, companies have to satisfy all 57 FSC criteria, which include respecting native cultures and economies, restricting clear-cutting (removal of all trees in a forest), and using minimal pesticide.

But sustainably harvested wood is not your only option either. As Green Home Guide points out, the market offers homeowners a wide variety of flooring options that range from linoleum to cork.

Of all the alternatives out there, Bob Vila has singled out bamboo flooring as an exotic but inexpensive solution. Bamboo is an abundant renewable resource from Mother Nature. Whereas your typical oak, ash, and maple regenerates in about 40 to 50 years, bamboo takes just seven years to reach maturity again.

When it comes to longevity, high-quality bamboo floor generally lasts as long as your traditional hardwood floor. The big difference is that a bamboo floor can be easily cleaned with a mop and a bucket of water. It does not need any special treatment to maintain its charm.

Upgrade Your Bathroom

With water shortage plaguing different parts of the world, conservation and smart water usage are keys to future enjoyment. Besides stopping a leaky tap and installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save plenty of water by investing in efficient toilets.

According to 150points.com, toilets account for approximately one-third of our daily water use. While the U.S. has taken the initiative to ensure that toilets meet the 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) federal standard, older toilet models (particularly the ones from the pre-1980s) still consume more than 5 gpf.

If your family already owns a standard single-flush toilet (1.6 gpf), consider upgrading to either a dual-flush toilet or a pressure-assist toilet. Dual-flush toilets give you the option to flush solids with 1.6 gallons of water, and 0.8 to 0.9 gpf for liquid flushing.

The pressure-assist toilets utilize pressure to achieve 1 gpf every single time. One huge advantage of this model is the water is contained in a plastic tank located inside the ceramic tank. The design effectively eliminates the potential for condensation (sweating) on the outside of the tank, saving you the trouble of cleaning up any dripping on the floor.   

Fix that Sink

Are you tired of waiting around for hot water to arrive at your kitchen or bathroom sink? It’s not fun to stand there and watch fresh water flowing down the drain, not to mention the energy it consumes to heat up the water in the first place. Recirculating your pump allows you to have hot water on demand.

According to Energy Star.gov, this method solves the problem of waiting for hot water, while enabling homeowners to save money, energy, and water. When you install a recirculating pump under the sink you allow the pump to recirculate cooled water that has been sitting in the hot water line and send it back to the water heater through the cold water line. The process repeats until the water reaches its temperature. The setup saves both water and energy.

Paul Kazlovis a metal roofing expert and has grownGlobal Home Improvementto be the Mid-Atlantic’s largest installer of residential metal roofing, saving the everyday homeowner money on energy costs. He has installed more than 1,000 metal roofs and more than 2 million square feet of standing seam, metal slate, and metal tile, helping the Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York area. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulKazlov. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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