Even the basement does not escape the concept of a sustainable house. If you are planning to remodel the lower floor and are concerned about the future of the planet, here are a few guidelines you should follow, according to Écohabitation experts.
This would be the perfect time to check for radon. We have been hearing more and more about this carcinogenic gas. You can find the detection device in a large shopping centre or a hardware store. If the level is high, Écohabitiion recommends a system designed to evacuate the gas.
Insulating the water heater and plumbing pipes will considerably reduce your energy bills.
Opt for synthetic (recycled) gypsum for the walls and ceilings instead of the natural one. It is more ecological.
Avoid paints and coatings that release volatile organic compounds (VOC) and contain alkyd.
Glass blocks, tiles made of glass or terracotta or natural stone, wooden panels, MDF boards, glass paste, recycled decorative bricks and stones are all considered sustainable and ecological materials.
Ideally, avoid drop ceilings.
Restoring your floors is the most ecological option possible. If not, you could buy a refurbished floor at a dealer who sells recycled building-supplies or who specializes in architectural restoration. You could sometimes find them in the classified ads, sold by individuals. You prefer buying new? Bamboo, concrete, solid wood, engineered wood, ceramic, porcelain, stoneware, slate, granite, travertine, limestone (calcareous stone), cork, and Marmoleum (previously called linoleum) are all recommended materials. Forget about vinyl and PVC linoleum.
As for the doors and mouldings, it would be best to restore, repaint and refurbish them. Unique pieces are also available at your local recycled building-supply store or those specialized in architectural restoration. You may even find some in the classified ads.
If you prefer buying new, Écohabitation experts suggest buying full or hollow doors made of composite wood, moldings made of medium density fibreboard, and pre-painted jointed pine. Solid wood and local types of wood are strongly recommended. For the woodwork, turn to a natural finish without VOCs and apply a non-toxic sealant, if needed.
As any major renovation work, entrust your waste with a recycling company or bring it to a sorting centre, an ecocentre or a recycling professional.
The website of Écohabitation explains, in specific detail, the reasons for these choices. You will find many other subjects as well.