Green Home Improvement Tips

These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.
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Going Green in the Work Place – Green Jobs

In today’s world many people and businesses are concerned about “going green”. Going green refers to the act of making a home or business less wasteful and thus better for the environment through reducing energy and water consumption, through utilizing alternative fuel sources, and through a variety of other processes. Along with the recent trend toward limiting a home or business’ impact on the environment has developed a demand for green jobs. Too keep up with this demand the United States launched the Green Jobs Act in 2007 in order to help address the issues which impair growth in green industries.

There are many types of green jobs from weatherization of homes to green building projects and the development of green infrastructure. Those who work on green building projects aim to create buildings and businesses that are energy efficient. Whether or not something qualifies as a green building or a component of green infrastructure is determined by the LEED certification system. The LEED system is internationally recognized and encompasses all avenues of green building performance. Those who have green jobs in the building industry utilize processes such as weatherization, installation of appliances and windows that cut down on waste, and introducing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar energy to provide eco-friendly power.

Another important category of green jobs includes the contractors, energy auditors, and other individuals who work with homeowners and businesses in order to update their buildings so that they are more “green”. Contractors and energy auditors utilize infrared imaging tools in order to show homeowners and businesses areas where energy is being wasted. Duct leaks, improperly sealed windows, and inadequate insulation can all lead to energy waste and, essentially, wasted money. By updating appliances and putting a building through the process of weatherization, a home or business can be made more energy efficient.

These are just a few of the many green jobs that are becoming more and more prevalent in the job market today. Other green jobs include farming, the process of producing food through organic processes and making it available in farmers markets and other venues. There is also a large need for fabricators of wind turbines and installation experts for solar power systems. Wind turbines are almost entirely made of metal, so individuals who have experience in the automotive industry or in other veins of manufacturing can easily excel in this type of job. Solar Power installation experts are needed all over the country to install solar-thermal water heaters and rooftop photovoltaic cells. The demand for green jobs is steadily increasing and many individuals are doing their part to help preserve the environment by making their homes and businesses more energy efficient. Perhaps the future will reveal a healthier environment that can be maintained through the responsible use of resources and the preservation of energy.

Green Bathroom Remodel Contractor Quotes

Today, with the growing awareness to the condition of our plant, many people are looking to go green at home. The most effective way to do this is when planning your next home remodeling project.

Qualified green contractors can help you make your remodeling much more effective and save you money in the process.

Your Green Bathroom Remodel

First, make a quick assessment of your budget. This will help you get free price estimates that you can work with, see what you can and cannot afford and maximize your remodel’s effectiveness.

Many green contractors will be happy to give you free price quotes, including ideas on how to make a better and greener bathroom.

Double Flash Toilet – The double flash toilet is becoming popular even at homes that are currently not looking to become eco friendly and that is because of the huge water savings. When people have control over how much water to use when they flush (an economic flush uses ONLY HALF of the amount of water that a regular flush does), they usually do use it. This savings are instantly reflected in your water bill.

Low Flow Faucets – Consult a professional and ask for recommendations on what low flow faucet models to install.

Greywater system – There are many kinds of systems that recycle water so you can re-use them for different purposes. Be sure to consult a professional regarding your specific needs, since some systems are much more expensive than others and may not be useful for your home’s needs. This is the case, for instant, with a purifying system that is designed to save on garden irrigation expenses. If you do not have a garden, some systems will not return the investment made.

Non Toxic Adhesives/Sealants – Eco friendly contractors will usually be able to recommend top of the line sealants that are made with eco friendly, often recyclable materials.

Be sure to ask for several different price quotes and gather ideas from different professionals. Remember: the better your plan is, the greener and more eco friendly the result.

Best Real Estate Investment Strategy for Commercial Property and Homeowners

Green home remodeling has experienced a rise in popularity across the region as many homeowners and commercial property investors seek to improve the appearance and durability of their property structures. I’ve come to truly understand why as well. Green renovations such as bamboo flooring or implementation of alternative wind energy usage provide long-lasting and favorable enhancements to properties that are sustainable, trendy and eco-friendly. Additionally, earth-friendly renovation and remodeling costs have begun to drop as more green contractors become available on the market.

Best Green Home Remodeling Projects to Consider

Consider green home remodeling for your property when it’s time to renovate. Eco-friendly renovations that won’t break your budget are not only attainable, but can provide an increased ROI, or return on your investment, with the right strategies. The key to getting a proper return on investment is to consider the types of maintenance and work needed for the house, the best options available and the neighborhood in which your property is located.

Essentially, there are five basic types of home remodeling projects: home maintenance, curb appeal, neighborhood norm, appraisal booster, lifestyle improvement and “green” improvement. For the record, some of these improvements may intersect with others, but overall, the ones that are most important to consider are home maintenance and appraisal booster.

Home maintenance repairs are those that would manage the home’s condition and are pretty routine to the lifecycle of almost every house. Home maintenance renovations would include projects such as roof repairs, flashing roof leak repair, weather-stripping and storm door repairs. If your gutters, plumbing fixtures, and other “everyday” shelter needs required work, these would all fall under the umbrella of normal home maintenance and repair.

Appraisal boost renovations provide a quick turnaround and prepare a home for quick flip investments. Appraisal – focused renovations do not seek to over-improve your home, but simply increase the value of your home through major remodels that upgrade the quality of life in the home to a competitive and comparable level in line with market comps. In other words, you’re remodeling to “meet the Joneses,” not outdo them. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you purchase a 3 bed, 2 bathroom home in Todt Hill, which is a relatively middle-class community in Staten Island, New York. When you purchased the house several years ago, it was relatively normal for all of the homes to have 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. Now, you’re looking to sell the home and move to New Jersey. However, you discover that recent homes that have sold in the Todt Hill area are 3 bedroom 2.5 bathrooms and granite countertops. Guess what? You’ll probably have to consider renovating your house to add another full bathroom and see about getting granite countertops to match the current market demands.

What is a Certified Green Agent and What Can They Do For You?

If you are interested in going green in your housing and development project, than a Certified Green Agent may be the person you want to consider doing business with. A green agent is a real estate agent with a commitment to building development that works for the good of our environment and who has received green designation training.

In the real estate market, there is more of a demand for green standards to be upheld. More homeowners and developers alike are looking for homes and buildings that are more eco-friendly. To this end, certified green housing typically sells for a higher price and more quickly than non-green-equivalents. A Certified Green Agent works with you to make sure your core values are met for environmental quality.

Many homeowners and builders are seeking property that is more solar powered in order to promote energy conservation. One asset of having a Certified Green Agent is they seek to help you choose alternatives that improve energy efficiency. They can also help you target materials and equipment that operate with solar energy. It is a great benefit to know you are able to make good use of energy, save money and help the environment too.

A green agent also works to help you make use of natural and adaptable materials (recycled or reclaimed) and to minimize the use of toxic materials for your building project. They can also provide guidance on eco-friendly design and potential contacts with other green service providers such as green contractors, green home inspectors, green designers etc.

In addition, they can give you a general overview of the legal terms for building or converting your property as well as help you understand tax benefits, tax responsibilities, and all pros and cons.

If you are concerned about living materials to keep your home or building solar and cost efficient, a specialized agent can be effective. They can point you in the right direction of getting energy efficient appliances, windows, and venting systems. They also provide guides to helping you pick the best solar heating and electricity for your home.

The awareness for being green, conserving the environment, and saving energy is growing. A Certified Green Agent does what s/he can do for you to help uphold the standard of living green.

Why Green Remodeling Is Becoming So Popular

“Green” remodeling is a growing trend with environmentally conscious homeowners and renovators. You should know, however, that without formal building codes and definitions, many different practices are called “green” and not everyone agrees.

Going “green” can bring health benefits and reduced costs, but it’s not likely to bring higher prices to homes on the market. Environmentally friendly designs are most useful for people who plan on living in the home or have a market for people to whom it is a perk.

The costs of utilities can be affected tremendously by proper design. High efficiency appliances, especially furnaces and air conditioning units, waste less energy and reduce your electric bill each month. Toilets and dishwashers that use less water also help.

Passive systems can be installed to reduce the need for electricity. Solar panels can heat water, your home, and provide electricity. At least one firm also uses solar panels and fiber optic cable to bring natural sunlight into your home.

Housing materials that are recycled make homeowners feel better, reduce the impact on the environment, and may be of better quality. Beams are being created from compressed recycled wood that are stronger than regular boards. Metal roofs help cool homes and do not require tarred shingles, which can release chemicals into rainwater falling off them.

Gardeners and landscapers have a role as well. By selecting plants that require low amounts of water you can avoid having to water your plants through the summer. Rain water collected into a system can provide all your plants or garden needs through the summer.

Renovating your home to be more environmentally friendly does not necessarily bring increased costs. According to one source a large kitchen remodel of $100,000 only included $350 of additional costs because of green materials.

Materials are not hard to find. There are listings of “Green” contractors on the Internet as well as materials.

Home Depot recently began a project to educate the public about products that are recycled or otherwise environmentally friendly. The products, which have been certified by a third party, have been available for some time but homeowners are only now learning about them and showing interest. Products are also being featured in conventions and trade shows such as “Remodel Green Midwest.”

Health risks can be reduced or eliminated with these products. Many major manufacturers are making paints with lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can reduce indoor air quality and be harmful. Choosing a floor created from renewable sources often means better air quality as well. Renewable wood floors look beautiful and can add value to the home as well. Insulation can be installed that is created from soy or other natural products that increase the efficiency of your heating and don’t bring in the irritants.

With energy costs rising consistently improving your home to require less energy and generate less waste is a good financial move as well as a way to save resources for future generations.

Tips in Building a Green Home

Numerous corporate, community and personal activities continue to focus on the world environment. That is why Earth Day is becoming very popular and obtaining more support from governments, business institutions, cause-oriented organizations, academe, and private individuals. You will notice that more people are becoming keen on the so-called green-building approach. This includes several essential components such as the use of sustainable products, utilization of energy-efficient gear, effective management of natural resources, and reduction of environmental impact on the wellbeing of human beings.

Here are some helpful tips on how to build a “green” home

    • It is important to aim for energy-efficiency if you want to build a green home. This can be done by installing insulation in your houses especially since heating and cooling interior areas of the home make up for almost 50 percent of energy consumption. Poor insulation results in extensive waste of energy. You can make use of insulation (preferably foam) which closes effectively air fissures and openings in walls or lofts.


    • Start using highly efficient electrical and mechanical gear. The United States Environmental Protection Agency encourages the use of equipment with blue Energy Star labels since these are recognized as energy-efficient. This is true particularly for appliances, lights, water heaters, and HVAC systems.


    • Energy-efficient designs are in along with reactive heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation. It is advisable to plant trees that provide some form of shade near the south side of physical structures. Try to construct windows on all sides for cross-ventilation purposes.


    • Purchase environmentally-sustainable construction materials such as domesticated wood, amalgamated wood deck and recycled plastic components. Choose materials with longer life span even if these are more expensive since you can save on these in the long-term. Said materials takes a lot of years before being replaced.


    • Turn off all lights in your house when these are not being used and enjoy the natural light instead by opening your curtains and windows.


  • Opt for a green contractor if you have plans to carry out a house renovation. These green builders are experts in conserving water, energy and other natural resources. Your designs should be geared towards low environmental impact. Ideally, building should have smaller pathways which use up minimal space. The outdoors (driveways and verandas) should have porous materials to absorb water. Use plants without any chemical pesticides for landscaping purposes.

Home Contractor – Improve Your Business by Going Green

The current trends in the minds of those willing to invest in new construction, as well as in the promises of the new incoming presidential administration, is a focus on renewable sources of energy and the preserving of the planet. This trend has the potential to save this country’s economy through the implementation of new infrastructure to support the shift to “going green”. The home contractor can dramatically benefit from this by adjusting his materials and construction practices to accommodate the clients who want to be ecologically responsible in their choices of contractors.

LEED Certification of Products and Services

LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system is a third-party program which certifies the design, construction tools and practices and operations for what are nationally accepted as green buildings. Having a LEED certification will put your company on the organization website’s list of exceptional contractors in the advancement of environmentally conscious design, and will provide your company with added exposure to an up-and-coming market sector.

Recycled Products Renewed Ideas

By using recycled or reclaimed products in constructions and implementing the use of fuel efficient heating and cooling systems, including the implementation of alternate energy sources such as solar panels and geothermal heating, the home contractor can both increase his business and have the satisfaction of knowing that his business is helping to sustain and renew our depleted natural resources.

Government Backing

It seems that the new administration is very serious about providing funding for new infrastructure required to implement green energy programs. If programs progress as Washington is currently promising, the home contractor is who not using green products and providing green energy solutions in his constructions will go the way of the dinosaurs. The resources seem to be there, the public is ready for the change, it is up to the construction industry to provide the tools we need to keep the green movement going forward.

Wired Security Alarm Systems Instead of Wireless

While a wireless alarm system is convenient and cool, the stability of that kind of network will completely depend upon the wireless signal coming from the router. Unless you have a very reliable network with a very solid (and probably expensive) security camera to go with it, you could be at the mercy of dropped signals. Inconsistent signals from your network can cause false alarms from your security system causing minor inconveniences like waking you in the middle of the night. While the same network problems could allow real security issues to go undetected. Even though wireless security systems are readily available and their technology is advancing regularly, they are definitely not worry free. They also require more maintenance than their wired counterparts.

On the other hand, wired security alarm systems have been on the market for a very long time and have a proven track record of reliability. Manufacturers from all over the world have improved the technology to near perfection, and it’s now more available and cost-effective than ever before. Their main downfall is that they are reliant on power to work, so power outages can be an issue, unless backup batteries have been installed. Wired security alarm systems are much less expensive than their wireless counterparts. You can install a complete wired security system for what you’d pay for just a few basic wireless sensors.

Funders Want Outcomes Not Output

Funders, foundations, government agencies and even donors, want the organizations they fund to demonstrate outcomes, not report activities and outputs.  They want to fund results oriented programs, not read touching stories.

Funders want to see:

Strategy more than tactics – Improve graduation rate through tutoring VS X number of participants in an after school program
Big picture versus tallies of activities – Produce X number of people in jobs that pay $15 or more per hour employed for 1 year or more VS Train X number people in manufacturing skills and Assist X number of people in resume preparation
Partnering more than referring – Partner with X number of organizations to provide GED qualified participants for a workforce development program VS Refer clients who cannot read to literacy organizations.  Partner implies interaction – Refer implies you are done.
Effectiveness instead of blood, sweat and tears –X number of program participants plan to choose a career in healthcare VS Spoke to 25 student groups on healthcare careers and participated in 3 high school career day events
Systemic change versus heart rending anecdotes – Facilitated the adoption of new policy by the Sheriff’s Department that directs officers to contact Solicitor’s office before detaining juveniles VS Story about a School Resource Officer that counseled two eleventh graders and kept them from dropping out
Evidence of follow up and follow through – Provided resources that enabled X number of program graduates to stay employed in years two through five VS Contacted X number of program graduates to complete survey about employment status
Depth, breadth and commitment of relationships with stakeholders – Coalition of a high school, a community center, parents, Boy Scouts and two churches provide tutoring and support for at-risk sixth graders. Detailed MOUs exist between the organizations; parents and student participants sign commitment letters.  Grades and test scores of student participants are monitored.  The outcome goal of the program is that promotion from sixth to seventh grade will improve each year.  VS A community center that offers an after school program for middle schoolers with volunteer tutors and monitors.  There are no MOUs with other organizations or schools.  Participation by students is voluntary; parents are not required to be involved.  Because there is no formal relationship with the school the community center cannot obtain grades or test scores.