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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on September 14th, 2017

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5 Things You Need to know about Sustainable Building Remodels


Sustainability and green construction methods are growing in popularity. Businesses and homeowners alike use green building remodels to save money, reduce their carbon footprint and improve property value. For businesses, a green building remodel can show customers and employees that they care about the environment. For homeowners, making green building changes can attract buyers when it’s time to sell the property.

However, sustainable building remodels are a relatively new type of construction, and consumers may know little about these building practices. Before making these types of changes to your house or business, it’s important to know how to make these changes properly to ensure that they’re done correctly and efficiently.

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What is a sustainable building remodel?

A sustainable building remodel is a building remodel that improves the efficiency of the home and helps the home reach a zero carbon footprint. Sustainable building remodels use materials that have less impact on the environment and releases fewer hazardous materials into the environment. In other words, they are better for people in the community, and the planet as a whole.

There are a few common reasons why homeowners and business owners choose sustainable building remodels:

  • Save money. Green structures use fewer natural resources and less energy. This saves money for the property owner over time.
  • Improve property value. Sustainable building methods can make a property more attractive to buyers, making it easier to sell when the time comes.
  • Attract customers. Businesses that use sustainable practices and building materials can attract customers who like to support environmentally-friendly businesses.
  • Protect the environment. Business owners and homeowners who make sustainable renovations usually do so because they wish to do their part to protect the environment.

Sustainable Building Practices Will Significantly Reduce Monthly Bills

There are many ways in which sustainable building practices can reduce monthly bills. The total savings depends on the type of remodel that is conducted and the inefficiency of the old system. Common ways that homeowners and building owners choose to save money with sustainable building practices include:

  • HVAC upgrades. Installing a smart thermostat, new furnace and air conditioner, and sealing the ducts in a structure can result in less wasted energy when the air conditioner and furnace is running. According to ENERGY STAR, upgrading your HVAC system can save as much as 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
  • Plumbing upgrades Installing efficient, low-flow fixtures and appliances and fixing plumbing leaks can all result in significant water savings. New low-flow toilets, faucets, shower heads and other plumbing fixtures can use far less water than fixtures of just a few decades ago. For example, old toilets can use as much as 7 gallons per flush, while a new low-flow toilet may use only 1.6 gallons per flush. That means your household could save over 5 gallons of water with each toilet use!
  • Solar panel installation. Proper installation of solar panels can reduce a structure's dependency on electricity from the local power grid, resulting in significant savings for the property owner.

Upfront Costs Can Be Steep

While a sustainable building remodel will save property owners money after installation, it can be costly to put these systems into place. Installation of green technology upgrades like solar panels, green windows, and high-efficiency insulation can add up fast. In addition, green building materials are often more expensive than their alternatives. Fortunately, there are ways that homeowners and business owners can save money during the installation process, with some time and effort. For example:

  • Shop around. Taking the time to shop around can help homeowners and business owners get the best deal possible on green building materials and fixtures.
  • Tax refunds. Sometimes tax refunds are available for property owners that make green improvements. Talk to a tax accountant or tax expert to find out more about local tax breaks for green improvements in your area.
  • Use reclaimed materials. Some green building methods involve the use of reclaimed materials, like reclaimed wood. This wood can be less expensive than new wood, and is also environmentally friendly.

Get An Energy Audit Beforehand To Maximize Value

An energy audit is an assessment of a structure's efficiency. Energy auditors perform thorough inspections, then turn in a report on best ways the property owner can save energy. Getting an energy audit can help property owners decide which parts of the building can benefit most from a green update.

Changing Plans Mid-Way Through the Project Can Be Costly

Changing plans midway through any project can be costly, but this is especially true of green updates. Making fast or last-minute changes mid-project can involve buying materials at a higher cost. Having a concrete plan in place before the project begins can help the property owner avoid these extra costs.

Find an Experienced Professional to Complete Your Project

Green building is a relatively new concept in the world of construction. As a result, there is often less literature and information available to the public regarding smart installation and use of these systems. Property owners who work with an unlicensed contractor or who try to perform green upgrades themselves may run into problems. This wastes money and time.

The best way to ensure that green upgrades are made properly is to work with a reputable contractor who is licensed, experienced and knowledgeable about green building concepts. Property owners hoping to find the right contractor for their project can look at profiles and interview contractors one at a time.

Contact Litchfield Builders

Do you know which green upgrades would be right for your home or business? Do you want to save money on your utility bills, or improve your property value? Leave your comments in the box below. Green upgrades are a smart way to save money and improve your property value. Working with a licensed professional can help ensure that the upgrade is done properly.

At Litchfield Builders, we have years of experience helping business owners and homeowners improve efficiency on their property. We give free consultations to property owners. To find out more about how you can make your home or business more energy efficient and eco-friendly, contact us today for a free consultation. For more reading material, you can also check out our free guide to Sustainability & Green Building in Commercial Construction.

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About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.