Green Renovation - Tips on Remodeling For Energy Efficiency

Green Home Remodeling Tips That Save Money and Energy Usage

Tackling any major renovation project is difficult, making it eco-friendly can add to the challenges, but really pay off in the end result. Today, we're all becoming more conscious of our personal impact on the environment. With our concern for healthy living and the advances in sustainable architecture and the responsible use of materials, making your upcoming renovation project a little “greener” is a cost-effective approach.

Making your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly offers many benefits. While the initial costs are a little higher, there are plenty of incentives to help you including many programs offered by utility companies, an abundance of green building supplies, and the prospect of lower energy bills offsetting your costs into the future.

The key lies in planning your project carefully, spending your budget where you'll get the highest return, and hiring a design build remodeling firm or contractor that is up to date on the latest energy-efficient products and construction techniques.

Here are a few “green” tips to keep in mind when planning your next remodeling project.

Consider Your Needs Before Adding Space

Think about how much space your really need not just how much you want. Eco-friendly living starts with using as few resources and creating as little waste as possible. Some people imaging that they'll need a ton of extra space to host their daughters wedding, only to find that after it's over, they never use that space again! Instead of adding that 1000 square foot addition, consider more economical ways to get the space. Perhaps adding a shed dormer to the attic, or raising the roof a few feet will give you the space you need for that in-law apartment for mom and dad's visits.

Adding unnecessary square footage doesn't just mean excessive use and disposal of materials. It's an ongoing concern when you factor in the extra energy you'll use heating and cooling the space, plus the additional furniture you'll need. If you truly need the space, consider cutting down on the square footage and having the space do double-duty as a guest bedroom that's also your office, or a laundry room/pantry area.

Find The Right Partner For Your  Project

Residential green construction and architecture are relatively new concepts. Finding props who understand the process can be difficult. Speak with your local officials and see if they offer a list of certified green contractors. Another great resource is checking for contractors who are accredited in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington DC based non-profit. There are also some great sources online like which offers a nationwide directory of green builders, contractors, and designers including their affiliations and credentials.

It's incredibly important to do your research about systems and materials as possible. If your contractors are LEED accredited, you'll be able to communicate your needs and stay engaged with them throughout the process.

Tips For Energy Efficient Remodeling

At the construction level, there are simple steps your contractor can take during your renovation that will improve your energy efficiency and make your home more environmentally friendly. Here are some basic tips that can be a simple way to improve your home's efficiency during any remodeling project.

• First Fix Issues Like Water, Condensation and Moisture Before Your Project Begins

Fixing these issues first can improve your homes indoor air quality by removing excess moisture which can encourage mold.

• Use The Least Amount of Framing Allowed By Building Codes

Simply increasing the stud distance from 16 to 24” on center will reduce the amount of materials needed (limber, nails, etc) and create more area for additional insulation which will make your home more energy efficient.

• Think Before You Plumb!

While a multi-head shower in the master suite is luxurious, if your goal is conservation, consider a low-flow showerhead. It will cost less to operate, save water, and lower energy use.

• Whenever Possible, Upgrade Your HVAC Ductwork

Especially in an uninsulated attic. Insulate the ductwork and have your system analyzed to check for potential leaks, make sure the system is sized correctly for the additional space and properly balanced.

• Make Sure to Properly Insulate Around Recessed Lighting

Especially if it protrudes into uninsulated attic space. They can be a source of air leaks, and increase energy use and inefficiency.

These are just a few tips that can help you get started “greening” your home during your next remodeling project. Remember, do your homework and work with a contractor who understands and is aware of the latest environmentally friendly construction techniques and energy-efficient products.

Manufacturers are releasing new efficient products and sustainable materials all the time. At Forward Design Build our team is constantly updating our knowledge of the latest energy-efficient products and construction techniques to help our clients lower their energy use and costs. If you're planning a remodeling project, give us a call and let us show you how incorporating the latest green technology can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money in the process!

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.