Going green remains a popular trend in hopes to reduce pollution and waste. J&B Construction Company, Inc., serving southeastern Wisconsin since 1958 as a provider of high-quality exterior home improvement products and services, offers tips on how to go green when it comes to exterior home remodeling.
“When planning a green remodel, you want to evaluate the sustainability of the materials you’re using,” said Wendy Cline, owner of J&B Construction. “Think about how long the material will last, if it can be recycled, if it contributes to health concerns, and if it’s biodegradable.”
Wood shingles and clay or slate tile roofs provide the most natural and sustainable roofing options. However, they are also the most expensive. Luckily, there is a growing number of shingles on the market today that contain recycled content and come in a variety of styles. These provide a lower cost alternative to slate and wood while still providing green benefits.
While windows are fantastic for letting in natural light, single-pane windows let out a lot of air and lead to increased energy bills. To save energy, install durable double-pane windows with low-emissivity glass. “These extra features will cost slightly more at first, but they’ll make a difference in home utility bills. They’ll also reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer,” Wendy said.
When it comes to siding, Cline advised to avoid vinyl and engineered wood. Vinyl creates highly toxic byproducts during manufacturing and engineered wood, such as OSB, hardboard and plywood, is less durable than solid wood. “Eco-friendly alternatives include fiberboard cement, hardwoods, and salvaged stone or brick,” she said.
“While using latex paint on your home exterior may increase its curb appeal, it’ll also release toxins into the air,” said Cline. Use eco-safe paint instead such as a product low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Recycled paint is another good alternative.
Big outdoor spotlights use significant energy, especially if they’re left on all night. “Replace your outdoor floodlights with compact-fluorescent lights. They’re just as bright and use a quarter of the energy,” advised Wendy. In addition, she recommended replacing low-wattage halogen landscape bulbs with LED versions or solar lighting. They cut energy use by more than 80 percent and can last for over 10 years. Motion sensors on nonessential lights can also help cut costs and keep the home energy efficient.
“The professionals at J&B Construction are prepared to help homeowners choose sustainable, low maintenance materials for exterior home remodels,” Wendy said. “Green remodeling helps keep the earth clean and people safe from toxins.”