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.
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.
- Residential green building guidelines. Some of these are not specific to remodeling, but should be valuable to identify measures and methods for projects.
- CalRecycle’s Rebuilding Green fact sheet.
- Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) has provided Green Multifamily Building Resources.
- San Mateo Countywide Guide: Sustainable BuildingsPDF download.
- ADPSR Green Home Guide for Northern California.
- Energy Star resources for home improvement.
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor.
- Green Home Guide. Northern California resource for ideas, materials, services, etc.
- Home Energy Online: Do it Yourself. Offers information for energy-efficiency measures.
- Landscaping (note: this information was developed for commercial landscaping operations but many measures and resources are applicable for homeowners).