Home renovation has always been about adding features to a building that both modernize it and make it attractive to potential buyers or renters. The current trend in this area is to add environmentally friendly features that either reduce the impact of the renovation, or actually contribute to the ecological system. Here are six ideas that fit the bill for anyone considering a renovation project in New York City.
At the top, both of the list and literally, is a green roof renovation. A roof covered with plants provides a wide range of environmental benefits, including absorbing excess heat in the summer, providing insulation in the winter, absorbing excess rainwater during downpours, filtering that water before it enters the sewer system, and converting greenhouse gas emissions into oxygen. In addition to these benefits, or because of them, the city gives a tax incentive to anyone installing a green roof before the end of 2018.
Warm, wooden floors are an attractive feature of any living space due to their natural beauty and simple cleaning regimen. The latest trend is to add these benefits without impacting global forests by using recycled wood. It is available in a variety of types and finishes so it can match any décor. The “greenest” floors have adhesive backing that is free of formaldehyde and other harmful volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Costs vary from $5 to $15 a square foot.
The pace of renovations in the city means that many perfectly functioning kitchen appliances get replaced with new models. A New York City company has stepped into this process and prevents the stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators from being thrown into the garbage dump. Renovators can purchase them at a deep discount from the original price. The selection varies, so remodeling projects need to structured around availability rather than the traditional approach of designing the kitchen and then buying the appliances.
Natural sunlight is at a premium in a city with tall buildings. Quiet space is also rare in a city that never goes to sleep. Large, super insulated south facing windows, complimented by well insulated walls, solve both problems. The natural light is a refreshing addition to any living space, and the elimination of heat loss through the windows allows seating and even beds to be positioned against them. Both factors make the home more functional.
Super-tight windows and walls keep the cold and noise out by eliminating natural air infiltration. This means that fresh air must be brought into the home to prevent sick building syndrome. Clean air ventilation systems create a very healthy environment because they filter out all dust, pollen and contaminants before circulating the air efficiently throughout the living space. Super clean air systems can also precisely control the humidity in the home, making it a safer environment for artwork or other collectables.
With natural sunlight streaming in large, south-facing windows, it is possible to bring the outdoors inside with a vertical growing garden. These remarkable green spaces take up almost no floor space which is always a valuable commodity in New York City homes. They provide an abundance of color and oxygen-producing plant life. Best of all, the types of plants used in the garden can be custom tailored to suit the design needs and personal preferences of the residents.