If you own a home for any period of time, it’s eventually going to need remodeling and renovations if you want it to maintain and even increase in value. You can complete a sustainable remodel with features for both the interior and exterior with visual and environmental appeal. Here are some popular sustainable features of contemporary remodels.
Reclaimed wood is recycled, not a product of new trees being chopped down. It is refurbished from other materials like flooring or construction material. It’s incredibly durable and doesn’t require any adhesive backing containing formaldehyde or other harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs ). Most reclaimed wood is sold between $5 and $15 a square foot, but the price will vary in your location. This is one of the more popular options among homeowners now, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it at your local home improvement store.
Terrazzo is a concrete slab integrated with recycled glass, marble or granite chips. It’s incredibly durable and you can find the material in a multitude of colors to accent your home. The recycled bits make up a majority of the material and are products of old consumer goods such as beverage bottles and windshields. You’ll pay a bit more for terrazzo than you would granite, with the average price at a little more than $60 a square foot, but it’s the greener option, easy to clean, and tough as nails (you can place a hot skillet down on it and the material will not warp, discolor or corrode one bit.)
Normally a rainstorm picks up mulch, fertilizer and various oils from your garden and carries them to the nearest storm drain, depositing these pollutants in nearby rivers and lakes. A rain garden is different from a normal garden because it’s built into a shallow depression that collects run-off water and allows your plants and the earth to absorb it naturally. Consider growing plants native to your region here to save money and protect native wildlife.
It takes more than just solar panels to truly of harness the sun’s energy. The materials that make up your home can also passively collect or disburse heat to make your home cozier depending on the climate. Materials such as concrete, brick and plaster will absorb sunlight during the day then act as a heater for your home at night after the sun goes down. They really do work great for keeping your home comfortable year round. Think about the adobe brick homes across New Mexico and Arizona that can handle both the hot summer days and cold winter nights because of their absorption, refection and insulating abilities.
Also consider adding Low-E tempered glass to your patio doors and windowsills. This glass allows sunlight in like normal, but suppresses the heat flow to reduce energy loss. Skylights can bring in natural light so you don’t need to turn on electric lights in a middle room during the day, and they can be built at specific angles to prevent overheating.
Depending on the space available in a back or side yard, a small work studio detached from your home could be feasible. Alfresco is a new term for these detached rooms and spaces. Alfrescos are usually high-quality and made with only the most sustainable materials in the United States. An alfresco is normally enclosed, with a door, but you can also build a model with walls that are open or retractable in nice weather.
Depending on your materials and finishes, alfrescos can run from around $7,000 for an 8-by-10-ft. model to around $13,000 for a 14-by-14-ft. model. If you have the time to salvage material and the elbow grease to refurbish it and build your own structure, you could potentially build a space for yourself at a significantly lower price.