Want Your Home to Be Eco-Friendly? Take These Steps Before Renovating

People often ask home renovation contractors what they have to do to make their homes more “green” or eco-friendly. Obviously, there are many different answers to this question. A reputable contractor may or may not offer specific “green” options in their list of renovation or construction services. In any case, contractors should be able to point people in the right direction.

There are a number of steps you can take to assess your home’s energy footprint—and if you have the cash to invest, there are a number of green technologies available. If you’ve been thinking about making going further in the direction of an eco friendly home, here are some steps you should consider taking:

Get an energy audit

If you thought an energy audit was difficult or unusual to get, think again. There are many companies that conduct such audits now, and the cost is generally quite low—around $300 or $400. Here again, it’s important to find a reputable and trustworthy company to perform the service. If successful, you’ll receive all kinds of valuable information about where your home’s energy footprint is already light, and where it needs improvement.

Pay close attention to your HVAC system and insulation

Are your HVAC appliances getting old? Is the air you spend money to cool and heat staying in your home as it should, or is it leaking out through drafty walls or windows? The HVAC system commonly makes up the majority of a home’s electric footprint, and upgrading to more efficient, modern appliances can make a huge different in how green and eco-friendly your home actually is.

Formulate a specific strategy

Once you understand the improvements that are available to make your existing home more eco-friendly, you’ll be able to hold specific conversations with home renovation contractors—conversations that accurately reflect your needs and requirements as an environmentally conscious homeowner. Many people make the mistake of thinking that “going green” is something you do all at once. The truth is, going green is a gradual process for most homeowners. After all, there are many home renovations to consider, and certain “green” projects may not be affordable or realistic given the home’s existing systems and structures. However, at the very least, it’s good to seek contractors who voice a commitment to efficiency, sustainable materials, and leaving a light footprint.

Getting the right answers to your questions

When you consider home renovations, you want to be confident in the workmanship, materials, and overall value for the money. You may also be one of the many Americans who wants to make their renovation or new building project as environmentally friendly as possible. Where do you begin? There’s a ton of information online, but you’d be surprised at what home renovators know about practical application and statistics. Test your home renovator’s knowledge on green solutions for your home. If you have specific requests, make them known up front. And if you’re not comfortable with the answers, it’s a good sign that you’ll be happier with another contractor.