Planing, design and design review

The next step is start planning out your remodel. For any home remodel, there are many, many decisions to make. You have to make design decisions, choose fixtures, appliances, colors and finishes and many more. Typically these decisions are largely made based functionality, aesthetics, personal preference and cost. When doing a green remodel, you need to add to those considerations, ones that include using low-toxic materials, reducing energy & water consumption, reducing your home’s effect on the surrounding area as well as on to the planet as a whole. Early on in this process, it’s important to define what your priorities are incorporating environmental considerations into your remodel.

The pre-construction design process should include planning a design that works well for how you actually will be using your home, in a size no larger then you really need. It should include plans for a home that will be comfortable and enhance your enjoyment of living there. Be careful to choose low-toxic and resource efficient materials and finishes. Plan to include a heating & ventilating system that is energy efficient, includes good ventilation, and good filtration for the air.

The plans and other documents from which the remodel will be done should be very clear on the remodels environmental priorities as well as specifically outline which finishes, materials and processes that are to be used. It should also include which materials and practices are not acceptable.

Before the project begins your home should be carefully evaluated as to what existing problems it may have. Does it have any mold or other moisture problems? Is there off gassing from newer finishes or materials that are a problem? Does it have proper ventilation, particularly in wet areas such as bathrooms? Are there radon problems in your soils? Are there toxic materials in the home such as asbestos or lead in the paints? For any these where there are problems, a solution for them needs to be incorporated into your remodeling plan.