Small Steps to a Green Remodel: The Green Remodeler's Guide

From planning to hiring contractors and shopping for materials, our guide will help you customize the perfect remodel for your home and lifestyle.


| May/June 2011



Phinney Ridge home renovation bathroom

When remodeling, opt for materials that are healthy and easy on the environment. In the bathroom and throughout the Seattle home, Burton selected low-VOC paints and finishes, efficient fixtures and environmentally responsible materials such as the wheatboard cabinets that grace the bathroom and kitchen. Water-saving efforts indoors, such as low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets, are complemented outdoors with native, drought-resistant landscaping.

Photo By Art Grice

Though green remodeling sometimes involves big-ticket items like solar panels, new double-pane windows, and revamped heating and cooling systems, remodeling wisely requires tapping into our desires and
creativity as much as our bank accounts. An abundance of good information about green building strategies and materials exists, but prioritizing renovations and determining which investments will pay off in the end can be overwhelming.

The key is to take your time in the planning stage. Sometimes the simplest moves make the biggest impact—and they’re much more affordable. By learning about your options and setting goals for your home, you can customize a green remodel that fits your budget and life.

Step One: Clarify Your Goals 

Why do you want to remodel? Do you want to use less energy, feel more engaged in natural cycles, improve indoor air quality, gain space for new activities or family members, or figure out how to use all of that extra space now that the kids are gone? Write it all down, whether it’s a personal desire, a family need, or a response to environmental concerns. Use colors, diagrams and pictures to help you express and organize your thoughts. Refer to these goal statements when making decisions.

Step Two: Take In Your Surroundings 

To make the best use of your energy and dollars, study your current situation before you start redesigning or picking out materials. Sit still in your living room, in your kitchen, in your bedroom and all around your house, tuning in to all of your senses. You might be surprised.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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