Remodel, Renovate, and Upgrade Green

In 2002, nearly 70 percent of California’s existing housing units were 25 years or older. Of these 8.6 million units, it is very likely that in the coming years many will undergo some level of remodel, repair, or rehab. The Construction Industry Research Board estimates that residential alterations and additions accounted for $4.5 billion in 2002.

This presents an opportunity for Californians to invest in their future by implementing green building techniques and features as they upgrade their existing homes. If you are planning on undertaking a building project on your home in the near future, here are some suggestions to help you get started. One of the most important things to remember is to green your project early.

Essential Steps

Here are some of the essential steps you should consider in planning your upgrade project:

  • The first step to greening your project is to research green building basics, because knowledge in green building will be your most useful tool throughout the project.
  • Select building professionals if your project calls for one.
  • Identify your environmental goals and your budget.
  • Use an existing set of green building guidelines to help select which measures to use in your project.
  • Check your local building codes and obtain building permits, as required.
  • Recycle construction and demolition wastes.
  • Use recycled-content building materials.
  • If your home was built before 1977, asbestos may be present, so take appropriate precautions.

Remember, in sustainable building, less is more!

Remodeling Guidelines, Measures, and Resources

Green building guidelines can help you to identify which measures are feasible and that will help meet the project goals.

Project Ideas

  • Landscaping (note: this information was developed for commercial landscaping operations but many measures and resources are applicable for homeowners).
  • Roofs
  • Kitchen
  • Bath
  • Flooring
  • Paint
  • HVAC

For more information contact: Office of Public Affairs,