Our green building tip-from-the-past for today derives from the previous blog’s thoughts about using local materials. The biggest local material that you have access to is your existing home. In the past, families didn’t always move out of their home when it became too small, leaving it potentially vacant. Instead they built on to it, or adapted certain room functions to make it usable and comfortable. Sustainability is about the management of existing resources to ensure they continue to be available for future generations. What better way is there for you to do this than to start with your home? One way you can manage and improve upon your “home resource” is by remodeling spaces that aren’t functional or should be updated to add efficiency. You can also add additions onto your home, small or large, that compliment your existing home and give you needed space and amenities. In tough economic times, remodeling and additions can help you be comfortable in the home you live in without having the expense of purchasing a new one. They are also methods that add value to your home in the present and future. This is a great link to a diagram that illustrates some benefits of green improvements. As you remodel and add to your home, don’t forget to include green products and building techniques throughout the design and execution.
For an example of the reuse of buildings, take a look at the Historic Downtown of Bryan. The City is really focusing on bringing life back into the area which dissipated during the sprawl of Bryan-College Station. As businesses and families return to the historical buildings, they make careful but necessary changes to these structures to meet modern needs while preserving and improving character. This is a great effort to make use of existing building resources while rooting our community in the past! Hopefully it will inspire you to explore the potential of your home as a local resource and a green building.