GUEST POST: Basement Remodeling: How to Go Green

Environmentally friendly home improvements are a solid investment. Not only do they reduce a home’s impact on the environment, they are also good for your wallet and health. Your home will be more energy efficient, which means lower energy bills, and its indoor environment is likely to be healthier than non-green homes, which can contain materials that emit toxic fumes.

The basement is a great place to apply green remodeling techniques. Due to its underground location, it is a very different space than the rest of the house. It collects a lot of moisture, which can lead to rot, mold, and harmful off-gassing. It is also susceptible to flood damage. By keeping your remodeling efforts green, you can mitigate some of these common issues. Read on to learn how to go green when remodeling your basement.

Use environmentally friendly materials that can be exposed to moisture with little damage

The materials you use above ground do not always work below, as they can be too porous for the moisture levels found underground. Avoid most types of wood and drywall, as they will develop mold quickly and are likely to rot. Drywall can pose additional health problems – when mixed with water, it may off-gas toxic fumes. That also applies to any materials that contain formaldehyde, like particle board and fiberglass, which can release unhealthy gas into the home. Better green alternatives are glazed ceramic tile, concrete, and stone.

Ensure you use flood-resistant materials

Even in low-risk flood areas, many basements get damaged due to flooding. It happens a lot, and you should be prepared. Quality, flood-resistant materials are typically those capable of being subjected to flood conditions for a few days without requiring extensive repairs. Green options include clay, ceramic tiles, concrete, and brick.

Insulate with mold-resistant, low-chemical products

Insulation is an effective way to save energy by controlling transfer of heat. It prevents heat from escaping, as well as unwanted heat from pouring in. Some insulation products develop mold far too quickly to be suitable for a basement. Others release CFC and HCFC, which are blowing agents that have been linked to ozone depletion.  Understanding the demand for sustainable building habits, more companies are now creating foam insulation materials that are mold-resistant and free of CFC and HCFC. Invest in one of them for your insulation project.

Avoid toxic paint

A lot of paint contains volatile organic compounds, commonly called VOCs. They are a form of pollutant, and can contribute to long-term health problems that develop so gradually they can take years to spot. Issues include headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, weakened memory, and respiratory tract infections. Stick to low-VOC or no-VOC paint for the sake of your health and the environment.

If you have got your sights set on a new look for your basement, you should consider overhauling its look as well as its environmental impact. Remodeling with sustainability in mind is good for your budget and the environment. It is the perfect approach to take if you want a comfortable, high-quality basement that you can enjoy for years to come.

Guest post contributed by Jordan Rogers, on behalf of Fugrogeoconsulting. Jordan is currently studying geotechnical engineering. He also writes informative articles about geophysics, geohazards and eco-friendly building materials.

Photo:  David Goshorn

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