What Is a “Green” Home?

What Is a “Green” Home?

It seems like you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing about devastating heatwaves, record-breaking flooding and droughts triggered by climate change. Like many Canadians, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to protect the environment. If you’re planning to update your Markham home soon, a green renovation offers important benefits for you and the planet.

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The Benefits of Green Home Renovations in Markham

Green renovations are better for the environment and your health. Many building products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during installation and for months after. Breathing in VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, breathing problems, and loss of coordination, and may irritate your nose, eyes and throat.

Some VOCs may even cause cancer, according to the Government of Canada. The compounds are found in building materials, paint, solvents, wood preservatives, solvents, and other products commonly used to renovate homes. VOCs play a part in smog production and can affect crop yields throughout the country.

Using low-VOC or VOC-free building materials or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a simple way to prevent these harmful effects. Many low-VOC products are readily available, which means that using these green products won’t inflate your renovation budget.

Incorporating green renovation techniques also:

  • Reduce energy use and utility bills
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Help you avoid asthma flare-ups, allergies, and sinus and ear infections
  • Prevent air leaks that make your home feel too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer
  • Lower home maintenance costs by using durable products designed to withstand a range of temperatures and weather conditions
  • Focus on using recycled products, decreasing the energy output that’s needed to produce brand-new products
  • Decrease water usage
  • Improve your home’s value and make it more attractive to buyers in the future
  • Keep your home’s carbon footprint low (The building sector accounts for 13% of Canada’s greenhouse emissions)

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Green Techniques to Create a Self-Sustaining Home in Markham

During your renovation, we can recommend a variety of environmentally friendly products and practices, including:

  • Upgraded Insulation: If you have an older home, your insulation may not be doing its job. Installing upgraded insulation will keep your family warmer on frigid winter days by reducing heat loss.
  • Water-Saving Fixtures: Low-flow toilets and motion-activated faucets reduce your water consumption.
  • Solar Panels: Solar panels attached to your roof allow you to produce your own electricity rather than relying on the electrical grid.
  • Tankless Water Heater: These water heaters heat water on demand, while traditional heaters use energy to keep a constant supply of heated water.
  • Energy-Efficient Windows and Appliances: Energy-efficient windows feature insulated glass panels in windows keep you keep comfortable no matter what the weather is and reduce heat loss and heat build-up. ENERGY STAR appliances use much less electricity than traditional appliances and can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Upgraded Heating, Venting, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) System: A heat pump is an excellent addition to any green home. The pump draws heat from the air to heat your home during the winter and expels heat outside during the summer. Heat pumps work in temperatures as low as -25C, according to the Government of Canada.
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled products ranging from kitchen cabinets to flooring to siding reduce the number of materials that end up in landfills.
  • New Lighting: LED lights use less electricity without making rooms too dim. The bulbs last years before they need to be replaced.
  • More Shade: Extending roof overhangs decrease sun exposure and keep your home cooler during the summer.
  • Hot Water Drain Recovery System: This system takes the hot water from your shower drains and uses it to heat cold water before it reaches your hot water tank.

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A Green Renovation Could Save You Money

Green renovations not only lower utility and maintenance bills but could also decrease your renovation costs or lower your tax burden. If you use environmentally friendly appliances and techniques to renovate your home, you may be eligible for a Canada Greener Homes Grant. Grants range from $125 to $5,000 and can be used for a variety of green renovations.

Need help financing your Markham green renovation? The Canada Greener Homes loan program offers homeowners $5,000 to $40,000 in interest-free, 10-year loans.

Locally, Enbridge Gas provides these home efficiency rebates, worth up to $5,000, if you install at least two energy-efficient features. The gas company offers these rebates:

  • Up to $1,250 for basement insulation
  • $400 for a new, energy-efficient water heater
  • Up to $750 for attic insulation
  • $1,000 for an energy-efficient boiler
  • Up to $150 for sealing cracks in doors, windows, and walls
  • $40 for each energy-efficient skylight, door, or window you install
  • Up to $3,000 for exterior wall insulation
  • $250 for a high-efficiency furnace (You must install at least three upgrades in your home to qualify for this rebate.)

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Interested in turning your home renovation green? We’re committed to doing our part to protect the environment and keep up to date on the latest developments in green technology. As part of the design process of your renovation, we’ll take a look at your home and offer suggestions that will improve the efficiency of your home without sacrificing comfort. Contact us today to schedule a free on-site consultation.

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