It’s been a while since we’ve talked about it here on our blog, so for today’s blog post we wanted to offer up some tips on Green Building. Read on for our Top 5 Green Building Tips for Home or Office:

1. Although they are a great substitution for the interior lighting in your home, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are unfortunately no better than incandescent lights when it’s less than 60º outdoors, when they’re turned on and off a lot, or when they’re on for less than 15 minutes. Also, their light provides minimal visibility outdoors and the energy saved is negligible compared to the energy that your house throws out its windows at night. So we recommend a light that uses no energy at all: luminous escape route trim. Use photo luminescent tape to your baseboards and you’ll always know where you are in the dark!

2. Check to see if solar panels are a viable option for your home. On a sunny day at around 9:30 a.m., climb onto your roof and see if the sun shines on it. Repeat this action again around 3:30 p.m. Does the sun still shine on the shingles? Did it do so for every hour in between? If you cannot remove any or all obstructions between your home and the sun during these hours, do not install solar panels. If your roof does receive lots of sun during the day, solar panels can provide a significant amount of energy for your home or office and save you money in the process.

3. Avoid buying a backup generator. Typically, they require more money and extreme care to install and need to be tested monthly to ensure that they are in working order given the need. For those rare occasions when the power fails, it’s best to put together a power-outage kit that includes a dozen candles with holders, half a dozen flashlights with extra batteries, and several large buckets for fresh water. This is cheaper, simpler, and safer than using a backup generator and it’s much friendlier to the environment.

4. A fire in a conventional fireplace is only about 20% efficient. Further, when the hearth is cold, lots of fossil fuel heat is sucked straight up the flue rather than being pumped into your home. A better option is to install a fireplace insert that can burn logs and paper trash, has intake and outflow vents at the bottom and top, and has an easily-operable damper. Fireplace inserts are 50–75% more efficient and much easier to operate, which saves time, money and heat.

5. Use efficient built-in furniture – items like bureau beds, shoulder-high walls, and long desk counters with lots of shelves above and drawers below. Replacing standard, bulky furniture with these compact items not only will make minimal indoor space much more useful, it can create enough room around the inside of your exterior walls to add a second wall of insulation. This is the real secret to making your home or workplace more energy-efficient in the future.

Green building practices are definitely not a new concept, but they are growing in popularity each year. Saving money on utility bills, protecting the environment, and being more socially conscious are all important things for any homeowner or company. If you are considering a renovation and you’re interested in green building, be sure to contact the professionals at MDV Remodeling to assist you in finding the best green solutions for your remodeling needs and your budget! Click here to schedule a free estimate!

*image courtesy of Oregon DOT/Flickr.com