Whenever people think of renovating their homes, we find they tend to focus on the “pretty elements.” It is important, though, to ensure that the structure you are busy making pretty is also sound and healthy. At the same time, you should give serious consideration to the effect that your home improvements will have on the planet, as well as your bank account. If these eco elements are pretty too then you cannot lose.
START AT THE TOP
For many people, the thought of having to repair the roof is daunting. Not only does it seem unsexy as a renovation but it can be very expensive. However, leaving it too late can lead to all kinds of problems.
Typically, a tar roof is what most people select; however, over time, and because of the expense of oil, the amount of tar in roofing shingles has diminished significantly, making this kind of roofing far less effective than other options.
For instance, steel roofs are financially and environmentally sensible and they are more attractive. They offer a vast colour selection and range of design; some resemble shingles, slate and clay, and you can opt for the steel look too.
When I (Glen) did my roof in steel, I learned that the shingles remain from the previous roof, thereby minimizing the contribution to landfill. There is a small air space between the old tar roof and the new steel roof, which acts as an additional insulator for the house. I selected a Galvalume product because it reflects the sun’s heat remarkably well, and also because it is the colour of aluminum foil.
Longevity is another reason I chose Galvalume. It will last for 100 years and continue to function and look just as good. New Steel Roofers, based in Toronto, installed it without any garbage to speak of—no mess and no need to do it again, ever! It benefits the house, my energy bills, and the planet at large.
SHOWERED WITH SAVINGS
Along with dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads offer conservative water consumption, without losing the beauty of the faucets, because who wants to have a new bathroom without beautiful faucets?
Moen has a square showerhead in the Velocity series that is not only a great choice from a conservation perspective, it also has a very chic appearance. The square shape makes it work well, both in transitional and modern spaces. There are also traditional-style showerheads too. As always, form combined with function gives you the best of both worlds.
TOO HOT, TOO COLD MEETS JUST RIGHT
As beautiful as any renovation may be, cold drafty rooms, or rooms that are too warm, will limit one’s enjoyment of those spaces. Spray-foam insulation is a great way to insulate but many have issues with the smell associated with spray foam and the chemical makeup.
Icynene is a water-based product that seals any cracks that might allow heat and cooling loss, and it increases the R-value (the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow) of your home. Areas that are dry and warm (or cool when they should be) can then be designed as spaces you will enjoy spending time in.
To best manage the heating and cooling in a home, you need a system that will efficiently control air flow and temperature. Many digital systems can be programmed for weekdays and weekends but the Nest system learns your behaviour and personalizes a schedule for the most efficient energy use.
The Nest can be controlled remotely, so if you extend a vacation for a few days, you can turn the heating or cooling down while you’re away. At the end of each month, you receive a report of your savings for that month.
Think about your home both inside and out to make sure you have as much beauty in the structure as you do in the furnishings. A healthy house is a beautiful thing.
THERMOSTAT SYSTEM: nest.com/ca
Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander are co-founders and principals of Peloso Alexander Interiors. They bring 35 years of combined experience to creating environments that merge the client’s lifestyle, personality, and architecture. pelosoalexander.com, twitter @glenpeloso & @glenandjamie, Facebook.com/glenpeloso