Remodeling isn’t just about making luxurious enhancements. At Modernize, we’re also invested in taking better care of the earth. Revamping your kitchen, adding personality to your walls, and making some futuristic roof additions—all with sustainability in mind—can transform your house into an environmentally-friendly oasis.

Bold paint colors

Bold Wall Colors

Changing the color of our walls is often the first thing most of us think of when we want to liven up a room—and for good reason. Painting is a simple and inexpensive change that transforms any living area. Sherwin-Williams has a gorgeous “color forecast” list for both 2016 and 2017 available, or you can check out the esteemed Pantone’s Color of the Year to get your inspiration underway.

After playing with different color choices, it’s time to consider the environmentally “green” aspect of paints. Scientists have discovered that indoor air is actually more polluted than outdoors. This is partially due to the ongoing toxins in house paint that continue to emit years after application. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, were once essential to high-quality paints. Luckily, low- and zero-VOCs are now widely available.

Zero-VOC paints have 5 grams/liter or less of harmful pollutants. (Adding a colorant can up this count to the still very low 10 grams/liter.) Low-VOCs contain 200 grams/liter or less of the unwanted chemicals and might still secrete an odor for a short amount of time. A list of compliant paints can be found here.

Kitchen

Focus on the Kitchen

After coloring the walls, turn your attention to the kitchen. Small changes can make your kitchen greener, such as adding in a recycling station and installing LED lighting. LEDs are known to use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and they produce very little heat. Cool, bright lighting in the kitchen makes it easier to see while cooking and keeps it cooler when the oven is heating up the house.

For countertops, terrazzo tile is a confident and contemporary choice. This easy-to-clean surface is available in a variety of colors, all of which are made with recycled glass and stone from manufactures and post-consumer items like glass bottles and windshields. The colorful and/or plain variously-shaped glass pieces rest in concrete or a resin compound. Once you see how versatile and bold the surface is, you can even consider using it as a flooring material.

Solar panels

Installing Solar Panels  

You can take one giant step toward green remodeling by walking outside and moving your focus to the roof. Image your rooftop crowned with the ultimate indicator of a friend of the environment—solar panels. Many homeowners credit solar panels as helping them to become more cognizant of the energy they use, essentially remodeling their electricity mindset. There’s a financial incentive to converting to solar in many states, which can help to recoup your investment. For example, in Kentucky, residents can receive “an income tax credit worth $3 for every watt their system’s capacity is rated, with a $500 maximum incentive.”

Moving On

Updating your home can be an intimidating task, but it’s also rewardingly enjoyable! Taking the time to be more mindful about upgrades—from stunning walls, to a reformed kitchen, to special rooftop additions—will give you a home that’s not only stylish, but healthier for our environment, too.