Green building involves using certain materials and practices that are healthier for you and better for the environment as well. If you’re considering remodeling, you might want to consider going green for your new additions. You can easily complete an environmentally friendly project by following just a few simple guidelines.

1. Recycle as much as you can. You can help cut down on a lot of waste by choosing materials made from recycled products whenever possible. A lot of building materials can be reused and reinforced. This can help you cut down on costs as well as help the environment.

2. Use local materials for your construction project. By using materials from your local area, they don’t have to travel as far to get to you. This helps you cut down on transport costs and it consumes less fuel to move them. Also, since the materials are already adapted to your climate, they will be more durable in the long run, as they remain in their native environment. As an aside, you’re also helping local business grow by keeping your business in the neighborhood.

3. Think sustainable. Did you know that bamboo can grow as much as a meter a day? Bamboo has also been used in construction for centuries, so it’s already a time-tested building material, proven to be sturdy, flexible, and sustainable. Products made from materials like bamboo and cork are better for the environment because they break down easier and they’re natural materials so there are fewer, if any, chemicals involved. As an added bonus, because they’re so plentiful and easy to replace, they’re cheaper for you too, cutting down on your supply costs.

4. Find ways to cut back on water and power use. High efficiency washing machines, dual-flush or low-flow toilets, and other such appliances use less water than their traditional counterparts. This helps you save on water costs. If you have the budget, you might also want to consider installing a system for harvesting rainwater. Low-wattage light bulbs, energy saving power strips, and other devices can help conserve electricity, lowering your power bill as well as being more environmentally friendly. If your budget allows it, consider having solar panels installed, especially if you live in an area that gets plenty of sun. If you have enough of them, solar panels can not only ease your power burdens, but actually generate electricity that you can sometimes sell back to your local power company for profit!

5. Think before you throw away. You might be surprised what other people need. Before you throw anything away, be it building materials or appliances of any kind, make sure nobody else might be able use it. Put an ad up on Freecycle or Craigslist. By giving someone else the opportunity to use these things, you not only have avoided creating unnecessary waste, but you’ve helped somebody else out with their own remodeling project and probably made a little cash or a valuable trade as well. Everybody wins and it’s an environmentally friendly solution.