Green Renovations

Renovations can be very exciting and there?s a lot to think about when choosing new products. How it looks and what it costs are probably the top two considerations in your material choices, but let?s not forget the environment. Your indoor environment should be free of the chemicals that can make you sick, and it should be comfortable without wasting energy and your money. Your choices also have an impact on the larger environment. Read the following checklist for ideas and suggestions for keeping your renovations ?green?.

Appliances ? check the labeling on new appliances. The EnerGuide label shows how much energy an appliance consumes in a year of normal service and makes it easy to compare the energy efficiency of each model to others of the same size and class. Watch for the EnergyStar logo; it appears on products with high energy-efficient performance. Choosing wisely can save hundreds of dollars.

Windows ? EnergyStar labeled windows are PST exempt and will reduce heat loss. They also provide UV protection, reducing sun damage and fading.

Paint ? Latex paint is water soluble and doesn?t need harsh chemicals for clean-up. Be aware that even latex paint contains solvents that can make us sick. Look for product lines that offer paints with reduced VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Remember that leftover paint can be recycled through your local paint depot.

Plumbing ? water conservation is important. When replacing a toilet, look for low flush or ultra-low flush toilets. Look for showerheads that are low-flow and be sure that all taps are fitted with aerators.

Deconstruction ? at the beginning of many renovations is some deconstruction. Consider what uses those building materials may have. A little care may allow for reuse of drywall, lumber and items like cupboards and fixtures.

With a little time and attention, many of your renovation decisions can have a positive environmental impact. There are many on-line resources for ?green? choices at renovation time. For more information contact the Waste Reduction Office at 1-888-689-6328 or online at