- Start green. Don’t wait until the construction has begun to start thinking green. Ask your designer or architect to incorporate green building into the design of the project to make the best use of energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, and use of recycled materials.
- Minimize disruption. Heavy equipment and other vehicles compact the soil and destroy vegetation, so look for ways to minimize the disruption they cause. Limit machinery to areas that are or will be paved or built over.
- Salvage what you have. If you’re remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, seek out ways to salvage the materials that you already have. Old floor tiles could be used as the backsplash behind your range or as part of a decorative counter top. Salvaging material saves you money on materials and keeps these resources out of the landfill.
- Banish toxins. Conventional building materials emit toxins that are dangerously toxic to the environment and your family. Keep these toxins out of the air by avoiding formaldehyde-based adhesives, as well as toxin-emitting paints, carpeting, and finishes. Breathe easier by replacing these solvent-free adhesives, water-based wood finishes, and low-VOC paints and carpets.
- Reuse and recycle construction waste. After your new room is finished, keep extra materials out of the landfill by making sure they are reused or recycled. In many cases, your contractor will be happy to take the materials off your hands for use on a future project. If not, post an ad on Freecycle or contact your local recycling facility or builder’s exchange to ensure that extra materials are put to good use.
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