10 Myths About Green Remodeling part 10 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

10. I have to certify my home with LEED. If you’ve heard about the recently launched LEED for Home program, you may be wondering if it applies to you. However, only new homes or those undergoing very extensive renovations are eligible. Keep in mind that the LEED rating system is a voluntary program: you pay fees, follow guidelines and ultimately receive a plaque or certificate stating your home has achieved Gold or whichever status. You can, however, use LEED’s resources to guide you through the renovation process, such as the REGREEN Residential Remodeling Program and USGBC’s Green Home Guide.

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling part 9 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

9. Green building products aren’t as good as traditional materials. When they were first introduced, low flow toilets were, well, crappy. Same for CFLs, which gave off harsh color and took too long to light up. Both products have vastly improved in recent years, and the same can be said for many other green building materials. Keep in mind, however, that green building isn’t just about the products; it’s also about conserving energy and improving the quality of your life: fresh air, for example, is always better than recycled.

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling part 8 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

8. My local hardware store doesn’t carry fancy green products. You live in a small town and it takes years for newfangled appliances and materials to reach you. Or you’re a loyal Home Depot or Lowe’s customer and don’t imagine they carry such ‘specialized’ products. Not true. Both major retailers carry Energy Star appliances and many other green building materials. Besides, green remodeling doesn’t even have to include specialty “green” products. You can buy basic insulation or low flow toilets (the government has mandated them since 1995!) just about anywhere that sells building supplies.

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling part 7 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

7. If a product claims to be “green,” it’s good for the environment. For now, there is no across-the-board standardization for green building products. Some are endorsed by organizations such as Green Seal or the aforementioned EPA and FSC, but others are simply trying to cash in on the green craze. For a comprehensive listing, scan through BuildingGreen.com’s GreenSpec Directory or GreenGuard. As a general rule of thumb, check where the product was manufactured. It may have been shipped thousands of miles, wasting gallons of oil, just to make it into your hands. Also consider the packaging: is it as green as the product claims to be, or is it made from petroleum-based materials?

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling- part 6 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

6. I don’t have the expertise to do it myself. While some green building systems do require the expertise of a professional, that doesn’t mean you can’t handle some green remodeling basics yourself. We’ve already covered a few easy green fixes, but there are many more renovations that you probably posses the skills to execute: weatherproofing your windows and doors, adding aerators to your faucets and replacing shower heads with low flow versions, choosing appliances with the Energy Star label and replacing your incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent fixtures (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Surely you can change a light bulb.

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling- part 5 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

5. I have to remodel my entire home to be green. Don’t use the “all or nothing” excuse. Renovation is inherently green: you are preserving and improving an existing structure rather than disrupting a natural site or contributing to suburban sprawl. Begin by making small changes, such as selecting a low- or no-VOC paint, which improves indoor air quality, or installing a programmable thermostat to reduce the load on your heater or AC when you’re not even home. The EPA’s Energy Star Program speculates that the average homeowner can save $180 per year by using this simple device, proving that seemingly minor changes can have dramatic results. A green remodel doesn’t have to happen all at once; instead, think of it is a series of small but significant edits.

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10 Myths About Green Remodeling- part 4 of 10

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By Murrye Bernard, Contributing Writer

4. It won’t match my home’s aesthetic. Gaudy solar panels overwhelm quaint bungalows and wind turbines look ridiculous next to classically inspired columns. Green homes don’t have to be modern, space age or look like treehouses. In fact, green home renovations should respect the character of the home and if designed well, most likely won’t be that noticeable from the interior or exterior. Wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council looks no different than other types of wood, eco-friendly shingles are actually more attractive than the common asphalt versions and some renovations are actually invisible, such as extra insulation or a new energy-efficient HVAC system.

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