Last week was the 40th
Anniversary of Earth Day. Honestly it came and went without much fanfare – and I’m not sure why. The green movement is here to stay and hopefully inspires all of us to realize that the choices we make inside our homes impact everything around us. We have a responsibility to our kids to set the example and encourage them to live a more environmentally responsible and healthful lifestyle.
I’m making a concerted effort to live more responsibly and to design my projects more efficiently. Building and designing green is really an exercise in sensibility – where newly built and renovated homes are designed to be more energy and water efficient, durable, longer lasting and healthy to live in due to high indoor air quality – free of radon moisture and mold.
So if you are thinking about renovating, remodeling or retrofitting, which simple “green” improvements would add the most value to your home?
- Kitchen remodels traditionally give you the best ROI in your home. Sure you can renovate and repurpose existing space, but just replacing your old laminate countertops with a new recycled glass counter surface, or changing out that old cracked ceramic floor tile with a highly sustainable bamboo material, will instantly add value to your home and improve your air quality at the same time.
- Bathroom upgrades typically run a close second to kitchen improvements and their return on investment. By repainting with low or zero paints, re-grouting your tiles, or replacing all your old plumbing fixtures that conserve water will not only add value but save money as well.
- Increasing your energy efficiency by improving the R-values in your attic insulation or basement and crawlspaces will help reduce your energy costs – which in turn improves the overall value of your home.
- Adding solar panels or geothermal heat pumps are a costlier commitment than a traditional HVAC system – yet add high value to a home. If nothing else schedule regular maintenance at least twice a year to ensure that your current system is operating efficiently.
- Old single pane windows are a portal for allowing cold air in, and warm air out. Replacing leaky windows with double paned ones will instantly improve your insulation and save energy. But keep in mind, replacing the windows on an old historic home would actually decrease its value by changing the integrity of the structure. In that scenario adding storm windows on the outside of those old single pane windows instantly improve your home’s insulation value.
I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”
Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.