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UBC Theses and Dissertations

It’s not easy being green : overcoming the barriers to conducting green renovations in the home Nicol, Lee

Abstract

The construction, operation and demolition of buildings contributes significantly to the deterioration of the environment. Although much of the building industry is not well understood by the general public, the one aspect in which individuals can have a positive environmental influence is housing, especially during home renovation projects. This thesis has a two-fold objective. First, it attempts to identify the obstacles encountered by homeowners who try to renovate their home in a green manner. Secondly, it presents options to overcome these obstacles, thereby making green renovations a more feasible option for a broad cross-section of homeowners. Obstacles and the options for overcoming them were identified through interviews conducted with individuals involved in green renovations, including homeowners, contractors, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses and government representatives. Options are explored by considering three approaches to increase the adoption of green renovations. The first approach addresses homeowners who are already inclined to renovate in a green manner, the second approach seeks to provide additional incentive for homeowners who are not inclined to renovate green, and the third approach is based on improving the availability of green materials, products and techniques that currently have limited use due to regulatory restrictions. It is concluded that a total approach to green renovations will comprise a number of elements including: increasing homeowner and contractor knowledge of green renovation options, improving affordability, promoting the synergistic benefits of health and savings, strengthening government roles, disseminating information by setting green building examples, and addressing regulatory barriers.

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