With all that’s been in the news lately about “green” and “environmental and energy efficient” building how can you keep it all straight? We know here at Foster Remodeling Solutions how important these issues can be for our clients so we wanted to provide you some definitions of terminology so you can know exactly what you are getting and what all this new information means.
Below are some of the terms frequently used and what they mean to you:
• Green: This term is thrown around a lot these days, and many people have different definitions of what this means, all in all at Foster Remodeling Solutions our opinion is a green product should be one that should be more environmentally or energy conscious. Many products use this word as a marketing tool without actively fulfilling that consciousness so make sure to ask what makes the product green and how is it more efficient or environmentally safe.
• VOCs: This is an abbreviation for Volatile Organic Compounds. Basically VOCs are vaporous chemicals that can offgas (see definition below) and provide harmful fumes. These are typically found in paints, stains, glues, or sealants. Many manufacturers now offer paint lines with low-VOC content though check and see because sometimes colors may be limited.
• FSC: Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit, non-government rating agency. You will often see “FSC Rated” on wood products, this means that there has been a “Chain of Custody” from when the wood what planted, farmed, cut, and transported to your site. They actively promote responsible forest management; rapidly renewable (see definitely below) woods and try to avoid rare or endangered species, as well as replanting techniques for farms. At Foster Remodeling Solutions we have access to both cabinetry and molding companies that can provide FSC certification for products in your remodeling project.
• Rapidly Renewable Materials: Materials harvested from fast growing sources, those that go from seed to full grown in less than 10 years, bamboo is a great example which can be used as flooring or for cabinets.
• Greywater: is non-industrial wastewater generated from domestic processes such as dish washing, laundry and bathing, this water can be reused for grass watering and other non-consumable uses in your remodel.
• EnergyStar Ratings: A government backed program that rates household products under strict guidelines set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to protect the environment and promote energy efficient products and practices while saving consumers on lower energy bills.
• Compact Fluorescent: An energy efficient light bulb which uses 20-40% less energy than a standard incandescent light bulb, with many green products these were very costly a few years ago, but with more and more demand and manufacturers prices have come down significantly.
• Low Flow: Plumbing fixtures including faucets, toilets and shower heads that use less water than standard plumbing fixtures, generally without compromising on performance, obviously some manufacturers have been more successful than others on the performance, but these are generally a great way to become more efficient and save money. Also, considering water heaters typically use about 25% of a home’s energy, this is a great way to easily save money in the long term by investing in higher quality products during your kitchen or bathroom remodel. Certain areas of the country have low-flow requirements already in place.
• LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, this is a third party certification designed by the USGBC (see below) which has rating systems for Homes, Commercial Interiors, Core & Shell, New Construction, Schools, Healthcare, Retail and a pilot program for Neighborhood Development. Projects can become LEED Certified (at different levels) by gaining a certain amount of points (dependent on which system used) filing with the USGBC and having a LEED Accredited Professional work on their project.
• USGBC: United States Green Building Council, a non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. www.usgbc.com
For over 30 years, Foster Remodeling Solutions, Inc. has been offering kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, in-law suites and home additions improvement services. Our service area extends to Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA. Request for a FREE CONSULTATION at 703-550-1371 or visit us at 7211 Telegraph Square Dr, Lorton, VA 22079 today!