John Liptak discusses current practices

GREEN renovation is forefront in the minds of many home owners in this century. We are more aware than ever before of our impact on the earth and future generations.

Most renovators, too, are committed to GREEN practices whenever possible, and guide their clients towards environmentally-friendly options and choices.

Writer Vivian Astroff recently asked John Liptak, president of OakWood Renovation Experts, about trends in “green”’ products and technologies.

This is what he had to say:

“In general, there are more and more green materials on the market every day. For example, all our kitchens are fabricated with Nu Green products, made with minimized volatile organic compounds (VOCs), without compromising performance. The paints we use are low VOCs (C2 Lovo). That is now the OakWood standard.

“Instead of conventional insulation, we offer an environmentally-friendly soy-based spray foam, engineered to keep its technical specifications for more than 30 years.


“When it comes to flooring, we encourage clients to select materials such as cork or bamboo, which are 100 per cent renewable resources. We also use a reliable quality local hardwood manufacturer that follows Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

“If people opt for carpeting, we suggest “hypoallergenic” coverings in a wide range of materials from natural wool to polyester made from recycled plastic bottles. Most carpets today have low VOC emissions that dissipate within the first 48 to 72 hours of installation.

“To save on heating and cooling, more people are asking for smart thermostats that can be adjusted to very specific parameters. Some thermostats can detect if anyone is home and will adjust to the occupancy of the house. We can also install thermostats that will learn your patterns and adjust their settings accordingly, as well as being remotely accessible from your smart phone and tablet.

“Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting has gone mainstream, and with increased demand, prices have come down. The advantage of LED light bulbs is their long life: they can last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, offer better intensity, lose very little energy in heat output and are approximately 400 per cent more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.

“To help reduce landfill, we recommend that clients recycle old materials when possible. Often, before we demolish a kitchen or bathroom, we ask homeowners to advertise on Kijiji or eBay to sell their appliances for a few dollars, or donate usable fixtures and cabinets to Habitat for Humanity for a tax receipt.”


OakWood practices what it preaches: The new OakWood headquarters, under construction, is a 21,000- square foot ultra-green LEED Platinum building.