Nine Tips For Making Your Home Greener

Green upgrades are good for the environment, whether they are part of a new home package or a renovation on an older model. In fact, what once was considered a green upgrade in some cities is now the norm. There is still not enough data to figure out how much upgrading your home to a green model increases that home’s value. If you are doing the renovations with the intention of living in that home, it may not matter that much. But if you are doing all that greening with the intention of selling, it might. For example, a geothermal system, running about $40,000 would be well worth the investment to the current owner, and to some future buyer, but perhaps not. If the house next door was priced $40,000 less which one would the prospective buyer choose? It’s hard to tell.

1) Renovate Instead Of Tearing Down

In the current state of the Vancouver it's very common for high end properties to be torn down instead of renovated. After all when you have 10 million dollars to buy a property what's another 5 million to build your dream home? But the facts are that this is extremely wasteful to our natural resources. I'm proud to say that I'm not willing to work with clients who intend to tear down perfectly good homes with the intention of rebuilding.

2) Make The Choice To Use Local Materials

There are many places in the world who have next to no regulations on what industry can do. When it's possible it's always adviseable to select materials that are sourced from local resources. The pollution that transporting foreign resources to our markets alone is worth the investment.

3) Use The Rain That Mother Nature Gives Us

On the west coast we are fortunate to have one of the largest sources of natural water in the world. Conserving is the last thing on some Vancouverites minds, in fact there are still a large number of homes in the city that aren't metered and aren't monitored for water usage. Considering how much rain the city gets throughout the year, it would be incredibly simple for home owners to collect water in a rain barrel and use it for watering plants around the property. Yet very few people do this.


4) Reuse Building Material and Choose Renewable Resources

There are many ways to repurpose materials left over from a tear down but unfortunately there aren't many opportunities to salvage them in the Lower Mainland. Focus on using renewable materials like bamboo or cork flooring to make your home look it's best.

5) Add An Energy Efficient Water Heater

This is an addition that is a sure fire way to add value to your home. Most of the newer units only heat up water when it's needed. If you insulate the first 6 feet of the hot water pipe and 3 feet of the cold water pipe this will also add to the efficiency of the unit.v

6) Plant A Garden On The Roof

A popular option for a lot of progressive condo units in the city, a garden roof adds to the buildings overall energy efficiency in a number of ways. It helps improve air quality in the property and is simply an amazing way to relax. Use the garden to grow vegetables and herbs thereby reducing your reliance on the grocery store. This can even work on your house if your roof is flat and properly structured.


7) Give Your Furniture A New Look

Reduce the strain on landfills by researching reupholstering older furniture that needs a new appearance but is still sound structurally. A lot of the furniture that is manufactured in this day and age is of poor quality, so if you have a solid piece that just needs a facelift it's both economical and environmentally friendly.

8) Get Rid Of The Air Conditioner

In the Lower Mainland we are fortunate to live in one of the most temperate climates on the planet. Even though the humidity can be a nuisance in the summer, it's still important to put it into perspective. Having an A/C unit is a huge drain on resources and very bad for the environment. Considering it's only used for 2-3 months out of the year maximum, this is a very unnecessary expense.

9) Let There Be Light

When you are renovating your home, try and figure out if there are any opportunities for skylights. Choose one that you can open manually to allow for better air quality and ventilation throughout the home. Install skylights or other energy efficient options with the goal of reducing your overall need for electrical lighting. Adding any amount of windows makes your home seem brighter and warmer.

Keep your upgrades simple and focus on sustainability, the trends are all pointing towards this type of upgrade being more valuable in the future. If you are thinking about green upgrades and are staying in the home, chances are it will be well worth it. You will save considerable amounts on your energy bill and over time will get back most if not all of your initial investment. At that point, it doesn't even matter if it increases your resale value. If it does, that's just an added bonus.