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What's Hot in "Green?"


Occasionally, I like to invite a guest blogger to share some insights about their field of expertise. Sometimes it’s about San Francisco real estate, and sometimes, it’s just about stuff that San Franciscans care about. Today’s guest blogger is Chris Connors of San Francisco’s Design Solutions, a team of Certified Green Building Professionals. He’s been kind enough to post here before in “How to Save Money by Remodeling Green” and “How to Keep it Green Underfoot”. But this time, well be discussing what’s in demand in the world of green building. Read on for Chris’s commentary about “Greening” your remodel.

Knock on wood (sustainable wood of course) that even with the current economic woes, being a green remodeler in SF is a good thing these days.   According the latest Remodeling Cost Vs Value Report, you can currently recoup 100% of your costs if you do a remodel of your kitchen, bathroom, basement as well as a deck addition and replacement of windows. 
And while greening your remodel may not increase your return on your investment (at least not yet), more and more people are asking that we “green their remodel” anyway.  
Here’s a list of what people are either asking for or what we are recommending:
Green Cabinets – Since most of our projects include a kitchen and/or bathroom, most of our clients have cabinets at or near the top of their list.  Bamboo is a popular choice but also a risky one due to the temptation to harvest the trees before they are mature enough which can lead to an inferior product.  Ask for FSC-certified bamboo now that is available.
Green Windows - Also referred to as “Low-E” windows, they have special glazing for using sunlight were it is needed (free heat and natural light) and deflecting the sun’s power when it’s not needed as well as glazing to minimize heat loss.  Specifying which window to use in which part of your house or building is called Passive Solar Design.  Most of the leading window manufacturers now offer a green window option.
Lighting – 50% of your lighting in your kitchen and bathroom must be energy efficient as required by the state’s Title 24 code.  We have been installing LED light strips under cabinets and LED light trim kits in recessed ceiling fixtures as an alternative to fluorescent fixtures since they don’t carry mercury which is a problem when it comes time to dispose of fluorescent bulbs. LED’s are also now available in different light spectrums including a warm option which is close to incandescent. 
Tankless Water Heaters – Also referred to as “On Demand” water heaters, they are more expensive than traditional water heaters but last longer and in most cases, more energy efficient and save water.  They come in different sizes based on usage so make sure to order the correct one or you could run out of hot water.
I hope that some of these ideas excite you.  If you have questions about green remodels or need advice on how to go green, contact us, we’re happy to help.