Remodeling can be a huge decision. It is time consuming as well as money consuming. If you're going to make the decision to remodel, do it right. Think about what is important, including the environment. Try to make each decision as eco-friendly as possible. Kitchen and bathroom remodeling are some of the most common remodels that homeowners will complete. They are proven to be the most profitable since most people in the market for buying a home know that appliances and such are very expensive. Also, these two places are where you spend a lot of your time everyday. Here are some ways to make your remodel eco-friendly.
Countertops and Vanity Tops
There are many materials out there for every application. Granite countertops are an ever-growing trend. It almost seems classic to have granite countertops, but really it's just classically expensive. Try something different. How about recycled glass? Or even Lumicor's R4 Series (reduce, reuse, recylce and resin). They are largely made up of recylced resin. Another interesting thing would be compressed recycled newspapers with a low to no VOC factor in the glaze that would be applied to protect it. Recycled plastic and reclaimed wood are also growing trends.
Toilets and Tubs
Installing a water conserving toilet and a water conserving showerhead are a couple of steps you can take to making your bathroom remodel "green". You could choose to use recycled glass doors for your tub/shower area. There are also toilets you can buy that are made of recycled materials. You could also use a natural stone or recycled tile application in the shower instead of a typical fiberglass surround. This gives you a chance for some unique designs as well.
Paint and Finishes
If you're remodeling, you're probably repainting or recovering the walls with wallpaper. If repainting, choose an eco-friendly paint that is either low or no VOC. If recovering, choose a paper that is recycled and choose a paste that is low or no VOC.
Never, never, never install carpet into a bathroom or kitchen. These are places that are moisture bound. Your carpet would soon be smelling musty and developing mold underneath it. This would in return rot out your subfloor and require the replacing of both the subfloor and carpet. I would recommend a recycled compound tile or natural linoleum. Be sure it's not the typical, day to day linoleum, there is a difference in material content and processing. In kitchens it would even be okay to have a nicely sealed hardwood flooring installed. Bamboo is always a good choice for renewable hardwood flooring, just be sure the process doesn't include formaldahyde.
Installing low kilowatt usage lighting will cut down on the use of electricity. Also, the material make up of the lighting is a factor. Be sure the materials are recycled, such as recycled metals and glass.
By using low or no formaldahyde based plywood, you are being ec0-friendly with cabinetry. Many MDF basic wood is formaldahyde based so beware of those if you're going "green".
These are just a few of examples of how to be eco-friendly with your bathroom or kitchen remodel. Be sure to check your local codes and obtain permits before beginning to remodel.