Green Remodeling Ideas That’ll Make Your Friends Jealous

Sure, you recycle, repurpose, and refurbish, but wouldn’t you love to really knock your friends’ organic socks off? Turn them green with envy with these sweet, sustainable upgrades.

Reclaim Your Floors

reclaimed floors

Renewable, durable, and versatile, reclaimed wood is recycled — no new trees are chopped down for your floors. For a truly green floor, make sure any adhesive backing is free of formaldehyde and other harmful VOCs. Prices vary depending on the source and how much work it took to transform the wood from its previous use into flooring, but expect to pay about $5-$15 per square foot. Reclaimed wood is a hot seller, so it should be clearly labeled.

Thumbs Up for Terrazzo


Chips of recycled glass cast into a concrete slab make up terrazzo, a green countertop choice known for its durability and nearly limitless color options. Recycled components make up the bulk of the material — the glass chips usually come from post-consumer sources, such as bottles and windshields, which make terrazzo a greener choice than granite, but not cheaper. You can expect to pay about $57-$68 per square foot. On the upside, it’s easy to clean, and so tough that you can put a hot pot directly on it.

Righteous Rain Gardens

rain garden

Rainwater picks up all sorts of pollutants like salt, fertilizer, and oil on its way into storm drains, which then dump the water into rivers and lakes. Rain gardens — plants arranged in a shallow depression — help soak up rainwater. That reduces erosion, improves water quality and decreases the chance of flooding. Costs vary depending on the size of your garden and what kind of plants you use, but native plants are typically cheaper and better for wildlife, too.

Burning Clean


Say good-bye to firewood and chimneys. This dancing flame is fueled by bioethanol, a renewable, carbon-neutral energy source made from plants such as sugar cane. Bioethanol doesn’t emit smoke, and like a gas-powered fireplace, doesn’t require a chimney, which means heat stays in the room. Bioethanol fireplaces come in many shapes and sizes and aren’t confined to a hearth, with prices ranging from about $100 to well over $6,000. Plus you’ll have to keep a fuel supply on hand.

Realtor (S), EcoBroker

Coldwell Banker Island Properties-Shops at Wailea
Previews International Luxury Property Specialist
808 463-8485 direct/cell