Greening Your Garage Building Plans
or Garage Remodel
Whether you're looking for or creating your own garage building plans (or just retrofitting/remodeling your current garage), it's important to take into account the environmental impact of your actions, in the same way we work to decrease the footprint of the vehicle we're putting in it.
The main reason people install garages is to either add value to their property or to provide much-needed storage space. Of course, you need to apply and secure planning permission before building a garage, but once you get the green light and install one, you can expect a larger number of buyers should you sell up, and also expect a greater price, usually recapturing around 67% of the garage's initial cost.
How much better would that value be if you could also promote the efficiency and sustainability of the garage?
Green Building Materials
Using sustainable materials is becoming very popular in the building sector and more money is being put into its development. Developers and builders follow LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a set of eco-building specifications being adopted by governments and big developers.
Green concrete (that's eco-friendly, not actually green in color) is the first consideration when greening your garage building plans or garage remodel. Green concrete is also known as pervious concrete. Not only is it a strong and solid material to use in building, this concrete allows 3-8 gallons of water per minute to pass through each square foot, so if it rains, the water ends up back in the ground where it should be.
Thermal insulation is a must as well - you don't want to stick a non-insulated garage onto your insulated home and let its precious heat escape. Insulation with the lowest thermal conductivity for its required operating temperature is the best stuff to use. I'd recommend getting expert advice based on your climate on the best thermal insulation to ensure you reap the benefits (such as decreasing your energy consumption and saving you big money on utilities bills).
Whether you're looking at new garage building plans or a garage remodel, further heat insulation can come in the form of double glazing for you garages windows, as well.
On an average garage you will expect to find a sheet metal door with many gaps for heat to escape. Modern and energy-efficient doors in your garage building plan or garage remodel are also a must if you have already tackled insulation.
Energy-efficient garage doors are made up from a 3-layer sandwich construction, a polyurethane or polystyrene insulation bonded between two layers of heavy gauge steel. To ensure a good seal when shut, weather seal strips help protect the bottom of the door whilst keeping in heat energy. The door materials used are impervious to moisture, meaning none of the rot, warping or cracking you'd get from natural wood.
As this is an eco-garage, installing energy efficient lighting is the only way to go, both for garage remodels and new garages. Instead of the usual solitary bulb hanging from the middle of the ceiling, install tube lighting - not only will it provide brilliant white light, the tube lays flush to the ceiling.
Along with the better light quality, these tubes offer over an amazing 50,000-hour lifespan. Although more expensive than a traditional tube bulb, you'll make your money back from you're your bills and the bulb's durability.
Whenevr possible, use natural lighting too. If your garage building plans can allow, you can plan for skylights or windows, and both of those are easy to add to a garage remodel as well.
Heating and Cooling
Depending on how often you work in your garage, you'll want to examine the heating and cooling of the space. Most garages can do without any thermostat system (since you don't want to be heating/cooling a space unless its frequently used), so you may find it's more efficient to use fans or space heaters for the times you are working in there (and obviously while you're working on the actual building or garage remodel).
If you are working in your garage often enough to justify a thermostat system, do what you can to adjust the temperature by as many degrees as you can (shoot for 82-85 in the summer and 55-60 in the winter). Keeping the doors and windows closed to retain cooled or heated air is also important.
If all these tips are taken into consideration, your new addition or remodel will offer you space and value to your home. With all the angles covered, it should even start paying for itself, all whilst helping our planet.
My name is James Richings, from LM Concrete Garages, and I'm a builder and DIYer. I'm interested in green issues and enjoy sharing my experiences with people.