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Q: What are some ways I can go green with my renovation projects from flooring to counters to cabinets?

A: Going green has been a popular trend among many high-end homeowners, but these days there are options for everyone. We’ve sifted through some of the top ideas on the market now to deliver you ten great tips on staying green without going in the red.

1. Earth-Friendly Flooring Ideas: HGTV is always coming out with a variety of great ideas to inspire and delight. Flooring is a great way to stay green because there are many sustainable materials to choose from these days. Some of the most stunning and popular include cork (which is hypoallergenic!) and bamboo. Check out some of HGTV’s earth-friendly flooring ideas for additional inspiration!

2. Moisture-Defying Bathroom Solutions: When it comes to cabinets, there are many materials which can be tapped into for a variety of applications—whether for the kitchen or the bathroom. One that HGTV highlights is the bamboo plywood vanity, which is a great option for its ability to withstand conditions that are higher in moisture. Why not add a bamboo sink to boot! Check it out.

3. Sustainable Countertops: As for countertops we imagine you will be interested to know that one trend emerging is the use of recycled glass! Taking glass from windshields, beverage bottles and stemware and bind them together with concrete and fly ash produces a countertop comparable to granite in terms of its strength, scratch resistance, heat resistance and maintenance.  See an example here.

4. Serious Space Evaluation: Be conscious and intentional about your current space. Do you really need to add additional space or are there options within your current floor planthat you can work with. Approach the renovation with the mindset of architectural guru Sarah Susanka—“build better, not bigger,” and tailor the renovation to the way you are living in the space. For more on Susanka’s philosophy, click here.

5. Quality over Quantity: Susanka points out that another natural outflow of renovation can be a knee-jerk reaction to accessorize and redecorate with tons of stuff. Watch out for the trap of filling your reorganized space with stuff just to fill space. Instead ask yourself important questions, like which colors, shapes or designs best match your personality? Fill your space with objects and designs that speak you.

6. Amplify Space with Lighting: Did you realize that with a few simple tricks of lighting you can deepen the feeling of space in a given room? A couple that Susanka points out include: using bookshelves around a window to create a reflective surface that captures and bounces light around the room. You can also create this effect by placing windows adjacent to perpendicular walls, which will transfer light around your room. Check out this picture of a unique bookshelf and the ambiance it adds! 

7. Energy Audit: Whether you make a phone call to your electric company to find out your year-round electricity, gas or other utility demands, or you have a company measure the way your home absorbs and distributes these important resources, an energy audit can give you a picture of your home’s environmental impact and can even help you stay conscious of tricks to keep key rooms around the home comfortable without breaking the bank. TAC recommends Team Quality Solutions as an organization that can help you in your energy audit efforts throughout Indiana.

8. Be Bold with Color: You might be surprised how much color can impact the overall look and feel of your renovated space. To get a sense of which colors would really wow, Susanka suggests painting large pieces of paper with colors you’re considering and tape the wall to experiment. Make sure to try out colors you wouldn’t normally gravitate toward just to expand your ideas and keep your options open.

9. Take Advantage of the Mess: One of the very best times to become more conscious of your home, your fixtures, the materials within, etc., and their environmental impact is when you are renovating! You can take advantage of the “organized mess” before it ensues by identifying key factors that you as the homeowner will be able to control. Examples include:

  • Materials used in the building

  • External windows and shading

  • Air circulation and air-tightness

  • Hot water supply

  • Insulation and lighting.

 Learn more on these specific tips from the Australian organization NAB.

10. Start the Conversation: One of the easiest ways to be environmentally conscious is to simply start the conversation. We at ACo invite you to join the conversation! Having advised hundreds of homeowners on affordable choices when it comes to materials, solutions and more, we have the know-how and the perspective you need to work with you through the process.

We would love to learn more about your home goals. To set up appointment with us, contact ACo today!

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April 2, 2014

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