The home renovation that kick-started my Green Conscience
by Franke James
Franke James talks about how she chose to reduce her carbon footprint on HGTV.
HGTV came calling recently to talk to me about our home renovation.
I wasn’t sure I wanted our home featured, because (although I love what we’ve done with our home to make it greener) most of the changes aren’t visible to the eye. No one would know that we improved our energy score by insulating our attic and walls, installing new triple pane windows, radiant flooring, new furnace, etc.
AFTER: The renovated kitchen
What’s green in the kitchen? Energy-efficient appliances, lighting, glass block window, increased insulation in walls, glass counter instead of granite.
In fact, the biggest change was in our heads. In 2005, when I started to research energy efficiency for our renovation, it opened my eyes to the looming problem of climate change, and how it will shape the 21st century. It inspired me to make big green changes in my life (like selling our only car, building a green driveway, rediscovering eccentric glamour in my own closet, and writing a book about it all).
As soon as a I started to think about how pivotal our home renovation was in taking us in a greener direction, I agreed to the HGTV interview. Because renovating our home was THE event that kick-started my green conscience. Designing “green” was not a sacrifice, but a benefit.
“This past Tuesday on Home Tour, I posted the home of a Toronto-based artist, writer, speaker and environmental activist, Franke Jame. Franke had an energy audit done on her older, north Toronto home (above), and having received a failing grade, embarked on a reno to make it better. Though she was always inclined toward the greener side of life, the reno coupled with her mounting concern for the environment propelled her to make a real sacrifice: she convinced her family to give up the car.”
If you’re thinking of a home renovation, I suggest you start with an energy audit. There’s nothing like getting an objective report card to really tell you what needs improvement!
Check out the HGTV interview for more about our home renovation, and to see the Before and After photos of the interior and exterior.
Exterior of the house shows the interlock brick driveway which was replaced in 2007 with a permeable green driveway.
Franke James stands on the green driveway, which is a fully functional driveway which can support the weight of cars and trucks.
HGTV: Book Giveaway and Photo Gallery: Behind Franke’s Green House and Conscience