Sustainability is the new savvy: 7 ways to have a sustainable remodel

At Pathway Design and Construction, we see your renovation project as the perfect opportunity to go the sustainable route and create a home in harmony with nature.

Renovating your home is a great opportunity to create a more sustainable and energy efficient space. By embracing sustainable home remodeling and green building techniques, you can turn your Seattle home into a stunning, energy-efficient home that minimizes construction waste while making a low environmental impact. Sustainable home building makes it easy to go green without breaking the bank. Read on to discover the Pathway team’s 7 best tips to make sustainability the first priority in your next home remodeling project.

Sustainable construction tip #1 - Explore passive solar design

One of the most popular ways to save on energy is by building with the principles of passive solar design in mind. This means two things: (a) you should design your healthy home to take advantage of the sun's heat, and (b) you should make sure it's oriented to face the sun at noon. You can do this by using a sustainable design that's balanced between your home’s Southern orientation, big South-facing windows and an open floor plan.

Passive solar houses have been around for thousands of years — and for good reason. They're an ideal way to keep your home cool, comfortable and cost-efficient. Naturally-lit, energy efficient homes can reduce the costs of heating bills by as much as 25%. While many houses incorporate passive design into their plans, a green building advisor can also help you to add it in post-construction.

A passive solar house leverages an age-old idea and combines it with the latest technology. No more wires, panels or batteries — just smart, sustainable design that takes advantage of nature’s resources without leaving a trace on the earth.

Sustainable construction tip #2 - Switch to high performance windows

Your windows are the very first line of defense between your home and the outside elements, protecting you from rain, snow and wind. Replacing your windows will, therefore, make a huge difference to your home’s energy efficiency. If you can spot any tell-tale signs of faulty window seals like condensation, draftiness or poor closing mechanisms, you might be ready to invest in a replacement.

Studies have found that high performance windows can block up to 70% of power and energy loss, which makes them a great investment for improving the quality of your lifestyle while reducing your environmental impact. While standard windows are designed to let in light, these new, advanced windows are designed to act as an additional form of insulation too. This means your healthy home not only benefits from all of the natural light but also stays cooler in the summer and warmer during the winter. The advanced technology used in the construction of high performance windows will proactively block heat gain in the summer while reflecting radiant heat indoors during the winter. The result is the comfort you want for lower energy costs, cleaner air and a closer connection with nature.

Sustainable construction tip #3 - Install energy-efficient appliances

Energy-efficient appliances save money, energy and the environment — so say goodbye to high utility bills, and hello to brand new high-tech devices that revolutionize your daily life while saving you big bucks. With increased energy consumption comes a higher carbon footprint, which can contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe. Energy-efficient appliances are, therefore, an essential inclusion in your sustainable design if you aim to save money and energy, protect the environment and enhance your lifestyle.

Many energy-efficient appliances use alternative sources of energy such as solar energy or water. In addition, they are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program. Simply look for the Energy Star logo when shopping – the more stars a product has, the less energy it will use and the more seamlessly it will fit inside your healthy home.

Sustainable construction tip #4 - Get WaterSense certified

WaterSense certified homes are designed, built and remodeled to use water more efficiently while offering home builders a higher level of performance at reasonable cost. If your home is WaterSense labeled, you have a home that's been verified and certified to meet EPA's water efficiency criteria. Under the Homes Certification System, these homes have been verified to use at least 30 percent less water than a typical new home.

WaterSense partners with Home Certification Organizations (HCOs) to provide home builders with the assurance that their water efficient products and appliances will work together as a system to help them save water. To achieve the WaterSense label, homeowners undergo a quick, thorough and in-depth inspection of their home's plumbing systems. The fast and efficient assessment ensures that you're investing in high-quality fixtures for your home. Using sustainable design, innovative technology and hands-on expertise, WaterSense experts will evaluate your plumbing system to ensure you see significant and noticeable water savings in your monthly water bill.

Worried about flooding and leaks? Rest assured that Pathway’s team of expert green builders have experience in installing filtration devices that divert flood water to the outside of your home, reducing any potential damage to your home in the event of a disaster.

Sustainable construction tip #5 - Recycle and reuse your construction waste

Building a home that supports disassembly, reuse and recycling can significantly decrease its carbon footprint, save you money and lead to cleaner neighborhoods. This is a new way of thinking about building that has the potential to save resources, reduce costs and improve livability as well as protect valuable land from overdevelopment. Building this way provides economic and environmental benefits for builders, owners, and occupants, as well as the communities in which they operate.

At Pathway Design and Construction, we recognize that the waste associated with a home remodel is a burden on our planet. We are creative green building specialists who make sure every dollar spent on your project goes toward making your house a better place. When it comes to your home makeover, you don't have to choose between an excellent final product and reducing waste. Our Refresh and Reuse approach incorporates sustainable design to create the living space of your dreams without costing the earth.

Sustainable construction tip #6 - Choose eco-friendly paints

VOCs are short for volatile organic compounds. They're a group of gaseous chemicals — including benzene, toluene and xylene — that come from solids and liquids like paints and varnishes. With prolonged exposure, these volatile organic compounds can lead to poor indoor air quality, respiratory illness like asthma, headaches and more. The health and well-being of your family is far too valuable to put at risk. With natural, safe and eco-friendly paint products, creating a colorful, bright and happy home is easier than ever.

Eco-friendly paints are innovative products that are specially designed to have few if not zero levels of VOCs. In addition to safeguarding your family’s health, these paints go far to reduce the environmental footprint of painting a room in your home. Paints with zero VOCs are an excellent choice for homeowners who want a healthy living space that is free of toxic chemicals, but that also has all the benefits of a premium finish. Eco-friendly paints require no solvent to paint, essentially allowing homeowners to paint without using any harsh chemicals at all. At Pathway Design and construction, we are dedicated to using VOC-free paints because we know that these can result in a cleaner living space with fewer poisons drifting through your walls and into your home.

Sustainable construction tip #7 - Work with a green building advisor

Creating a greener world is a monumental task, but it’s one that every responsible homeowner should help with. Even when doing a smaller building project at home, using environmentally-friendly materials and applying sustainable, environmentally-conscious techniques is good for both the environment and your pocketbook. But unless you are already well-versed in the latest trends in sustainability, taking the sustainable approach can seem like a daunting task. By choosing to partner with a sustainability expert like Pathway Design and Construction, you will reap the benefits of working with certified green builders who have your family’s best interests at heart - all while sparing yourself the trials, tribulations and research required to establish the most sustainable course of action.

One of the ways that Pathway can add value to your sustainable building project is through our team’s commitment to avoiding the hazardous materials listed on the Living Future Red List. This is done with both your family’s health and the good of our shared environment in mind. As certified High Performance Builders, we design and build your dream home with the environment in mind and give you a living space that is built for health and happiness. Our motivation is to help you create your biophilic dream home where your loved ones can relax, make memories and thrive. Biophilic design leverages landscape design, interior design, space planning and building automation systems to promote naturalistic approaches that recreate the positive aspects of being outside.

How you can achieve the sustainable home remodel of your dreams

  • Home renovation can be a simple and effective way to create a more sustainable and energy-efficient living space.
  • Passive solar design is a key aspect of green building that many people take advantage of to reduce costs on essentials like heating and lighting.
  • High performance windows are more expensive than their standard counterparts, but for many homeowners, their benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, far outweigh a slight price increase.
  • Energy-efficient appliances are a great way to save money and energy, protect the environment, and improve your lifestyle. They can also make you feel good about your purchase, knowing that you've made the right decision for you and the earth.
  • WaterSense is a voluntary national labeling program that offers incentives and resources for homeowners who want to save water in their home, without sacrificing performance or comfort. Homes certified under the EPA's WaterSense program are up to 30% more water-efficient than standard homes.
  • Homeowners who are dedicated to building eco-friendly homes often make the decision to either renovate or build new features that can be easily dismantled, repurposed and recycled to help decrease their carbon footprint. Whether it's a recycled foundation or a salvaged floorboard, sustainable home designs can save you money in the long run — and they may even improve your neighborhood.
  • Green paint products are a recent innovation in the home-improvement space, as homeowners become more educated about harmful chemicals found in traditional paints. These eco-friendly paints use innovative technology to reduce VOC levels to zero, and can make a real difference in protecting your family’s health.
  • Green building and eco-friendly design don't always lead back to solar panels and other large-scale projects. At its heart, green building is about putting an eco-conscious twist on your everyday life, from how you decorate to how you heat your home.
  • Pathway Design and Construction is a certified green builder that cares about the wellbeing of your family. We work with you to make sure your building project is sustainable — keeping your home habitable while limiting its impact on the environment in general.

When in doubt, turn to the experts in sustainable building

Choosing Pathway Design and Construction for your sustainable renovation project will allow you to benefit from the knowledge of certified green builders who are trained to build healthy, low-maintenance homes. Drawing from our expertise and years of experience in all aspects of design and construction, we can help you to turn your vision of a sustainable family home into a reality.

Are you ready to create a sustainable home?