Home » Recent Articles » Household » Make Your Home Eco-friendly–Greening Construction & Renovations

Make Your Home Eco-friendly–Greening Construction & Renovations

By Larraine Roulston:

Planning to build a home/cottage, or to renovate? Every step you take towards going green will help reduce greenhouse gases. First, try sourcing green construction materials, ideas and contractors.As more green builders emerge, these leaders of change will secure the future of a new sustainable building industry. Building becomes an opportunity to investigate flooring, lighting, plumbing, tiles and shingles with the environment in mind. The following is an outline of some of the possibilities.

Straw bale homes that are both appealing and affordable offer a unique experience. With their high “R” (Resistance) value, straw bale homes are amazingly warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you are NEW TO STRAW BALE BUILDING, Andrew Morrison, a straw bale specialist, provides workshops, videos and a free 16-day straw bale e-course. Along with an experienced straw bale crew, these construction sites also offer every member of the family an opportunity to be part of the project.

picture from https://www.constructionmonitor.com
picture from https://www.constructionmonitor.com

Basement: If left uninsulated, this area can account for about 20-25% of a home’s total heat loss due to the large surface areas both above and below grade. During construction, use ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) insulation, which offers extra energy efficiency and airtight walls.

Plumbing: Most people do not consider the flow of waste water from their homes; however, cast iron pipes (if available in your area) have their advantages over plastic ones. Manufactured, using 95% post-consumer scrap iron, cast iron for the waste water system (referred to as storm and sanitary drain, waste and vent DWV plumbing) is a green choice, as it is not a petroleum based product.

Flooring & Walls: Lumber yards should have a designated area for reclaimed wood where you may find the ideal texture for your home. IDEA GALLERY displays stylish sustainable options of bamboo and cork, as well as carpet and tile, created with recycled content. For trim and interior doors, look for certified FSC lumber (Forest Stewardship Council). Toronto-based Greening Homes Limited helps residents design “green” homes. President Chris Phillips states, “Our team of carpenters and building experts work with clients in every aspect from choosing eco-friendly and recyclable materials to ensuring that they obtain a healthy living space. Greening Homes was created to be an impetus to an otherwise wasteful business.”

Doors & Windows: Interesting doors might be found at Habitat for Humanity Restore locations. Install double glazing on windows and even consider using triple glazing on windows facing north.

renovationsCountertops & Tiles: The company EOS Surfaces offers a variety of colors in its GEOS Recycled Glass Surface tiles, now available in many Home Depot outlets across the USA with plans to expand into Canada. Made with 57-63% recycled glass in a proprietary blend of polymer resin, these tiles also have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. Liz O’Brien, Marketing Manager, said, “GEOS is different; we are not afraid to stand out from all the natural stone on the market. We offer a bold color pallet with large pieces of glass in the countertop.”

Roofing: Rooftop gardens cool homes in summer and act as a carbon sink. Light colored roofing reflects the sun’s rays. Visit Top 10 Green Roofing Options | HowStuffWorks as well as check out Enviroshakes, a composite material made from 95% recycled material including post-industrial plastics and fibers with added ingredients that protect it from UV degradation.

From the top down, sustainable building practices meet our present needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

Related Links

Sustainable Works | Building with bales since 1995

Enviro Friendly | Great Floors You Can Feel Good About Great Floors


Reclaimed Wood Walls on Pinterest | Wood Walls, Wood Wall Art

Recycled Glass Surfaces and Countertops | GEOS by EOS Surfaces

Vittrium Building Products: Environite – Beautiful Recycled Glass


Enviroshake: Composite Roofing Materials


Green roofing options | Recycling | What you can do | David Suzuki

Larraine authors children’s adventure books on composting at www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

Check Also

Home Improvement Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

By Uma Cambell: Whether you are trying to improve the value of your home for …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Green-Mom.com member for FREE.

We’ll keep you updated each week on what’s new.

Sign up to receive our short video series and let Green-Mom share her top tips to going green.