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Instructions for green renovations

Whether you’re planning minor or major renovations, it’s always a good idea to think green.

Green homes are increasingly popular in Quebec and around the world. In addition to helping the planet, they are highly economical. Are you overwhelmed by all the possibilities? Let us enlighten you.

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Minor Renovations

Firstly, be aware that all the ecological changes that you will bring to your property, however small they may seem, are profitable. The first purchases could be a low-flow faucet and showerhead or a toilet that requires little water. Installing programmable electronic thermostats, replacing old bulbs for low-energy models and caulking the doors and windows are also fast and easy eco-friendly changes that can be made.

Major Renovations

Insulation is an important factor: The less energy will be spent to heat or cool the house, the greener it will be. This is done by choosing quality materials when insulating the walls and opting for energy-efficient doors and windows. Also, if you need to replace the bathtub, choose a smaller model (without compromising comfort!). If you have a flat-roofed house or building, you could install a vegetable garden or green roof. These will improve air quality in addition to being excellent insulators. And for the purchase of appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol that guarantees energy efficiency.

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Materials to be used and to be avoided

It is better to avoid exotic wood. Unfortunately, this market contributes to deforestation and its transport to us is highly polluting. Wall to wall carpeting is also an ecological disaster. In North America, 4.4 billion tons of carpets are found each year in landfill sites. The production of vinyl (PVC) and wallpaper is highly polluting and difficult to recycle. So, what are green materials? Stone, ceramic (with a cement grout, not epoxy), bamboo, wood wool or textile fibers and natural paints and varnishes are all natural materials. It is also a good idea to insulate the house with hemp, an unknown plant that has a low ecological footprint.

Recycle instead of throwing away

For several years now, fashion has turned to old revamped or redesigned furniture. For example, you can use an old hardwood floor to create a headboard or give a fresh look to a front dresser. These ideas are highly economical! If you renovate a whole room, demolish it carefully by retrieving the materials that could be re-used (by you or by others).

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Being green won’t put you in the red!

Forget the myth that ecological materials or major ecological renovations are more expensive: the cost is often equivalent. And if some expenses are high, they are often compensated by future savings on heating and air conditioning bills. In addition, the Quebec government has set up incentive programs such as Rénoclimat, Chauffer vert, Éconologis and RénoVert tax credit to help pay for the costs of green renovations.

Do you want to remodel the entire house? Know that there are green architects specialized in this field. Good luck with your future transformations!