Get Into Green Remodeling with Eco-Friendly Finished Basements
As we enter spring, our minds turn to the environment and how we can be more eco-conscious. A finished basement fits beautifully into a sustainable house plan — here’s how!
Finished basements as a green home improvement
Staying within the footprint
As we move towards more sustainable ways of building and remodeling, we must take a closer look at staying within the existing building envelope and or reducing the overall footprint of new construction homes. Plus, when it comes to overall energy usage in a home, there is a major difference between finishing a basement and constructing a completely new addition.
To start, there are far fewer materials required in green remodeling. In addition to conserving materials that would otherwise be used, you are shipping less material which leads to saving some green in your wallet. Finished basements also require much less land to be cleared, graded, or altered, which — again — leads to both increased costs as well as site delays.
Using the earth as insulation
Using the earth itself to regulate temperature is both a cost-saving and efficient solution; in fact, humans have been using this tactic for hundreds of years.
Temperatures of the earth are far more stable than those of the surrounding air, which is good news for the changing of the seasons. During hot summer months, extra heat is absorbed to significantly cool the area down. Meanwhile, during bitter winters, the earth acts as a form of insulation to trap escaping heat.
Incorporating green design principles with Egress windows
Buying energy-efficient Egress windows
Ultimately, the goal here is to conserve energy through green home remodeling. When installing energy-efficient windows, there are several important factors to consider. For the framing of your window, several energy-saving materials exist, such as fiberglass, aluminum, wood, or vinyl. You also have the option to apply low-emissivity (or low-e) coatings to the window pane, which provide an ample amount of natural light while helping to regulate the temperature.
These green home improvements are crucial for sustainable house plans because they each contribute in their way to the energy efficiency of your basement. The more energy you save over time, the less you’ll spend on things like monthly utilities. Here at Egress, we’ll help you save money and save energy, all while potentially raising the value of your property.
Where to locate Egress windows
The positioning of a window can either make or break your efficiency levels. Ideally, you’ll want to maximize as much natural light and airflow as possible. This way, you’re minimizing the need for artificial lighting in the room and, by extension, a higher energy consumption.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider using a window that is Argon gas-filled to increase the insulating value of the window or overall U Factor. U-factor is the rate at which a window, door, or skylight transmits non-solar heat flow. The lower the U Factor, the better the window insulates. Operable shading also lets the sun in during the colder times of the year and keeps it out when summer brings the heat.
Landscaping window wells
Just as basement egress windows themselves require thought behind their design, so does the landscaping of egress window wells. There are plenty of green remodeling options for sprucing up your area, both around the well and inside it. Consider including some greenery around your window well, preferable plants of short to medium height.
Another idea is to use decorative rock, keeping in mind that the window well should never be fully blocked. Flatter river rocks, for instance, leave the well looking far less cluttered and provide an easier route in case of emergency.
Some window well models also allow the interior to be decorated. There are a variety of good murals out there, with the added benefit of being affordable and relatively easy to install. Perhaps you’d like to add forest imagery to the scene, or a backdrop of a coastal location. RockWell window wells convincingly emulate the look of real stone for a ruggedly natural look.
If you enjoy gardening, you may opt to include a few plants inside the well itself (some models have planters built right in). Note that species that thrive in shadier conditions will work best here, such as succulents. If you can, avoid creeping plants (i.e., ivy) since they have the potential to block out natural sunlight needed for energy efficiency.
See green and save green with Egress Solutions
With every smart building and remodeling choice we make, we can go green and save some green now and in the future. Take action to benefit your home, your family, and your wallet with windows from Egress Solutions today!