Planning a home improvement project this spring? Whether you’re simply painting a room or undertaking an entire kitchen remodel, here are 10 questions to ask your contractor to make sure your project is good for the planet, your family’s health and your budget. For more tips on greening your home remodeling projects, visit nonprofit Build It Green’s website.
1. Are the building materials eco-friendly?
There is no “one size fits all” test to determine if a product is sustainable, but you can assess a product’s eco-credentials by identifying what it’s made out of and how it will consume resources (water, energy, etc.) during its operation.
Recycled-content building materials make a great eco-friendly choice, like recycled plastic decking, recycled carpet or recycled glass countertops. Or choose rapidly renewable materials like cork or bamboo for counters, floors or other surfaces.
SEE: PHOTOS: Stunning Recycled Glass Countertops
If you’ll be using wood, look for sustainably harvested products, preferably certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
And if you’ll be buying new appliances like a clothes washer or installing new cooling and heating systems such as a furnace, request models that conserve water and are energy efficient, certified by the EPA’s Energy Star program where applicable.
READ: Green Buyer’s Guide to Washers and Dryers