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Ask the Remodeler: Making environmentally conscious decisions

Ask the Expert Home Improvement
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Dear Readers

In my July 24 column, I answered a question from a reader about the pros and cons of installing a white versus a black rubber roof on a condo building. While the answer to the specific question was that in this climate zone there is no real gain or advantage one way or the other, another reader reached out with an extremely important point. Because most rubber roofs in New England are in urban areas, white rubber roofs installed in large enough quantities would in total reflect far more sun and help mitigate the heat sink effect that plagues urban areas in the summer. This will become ever more important in the years ahead as temperatures steadily rise.

The reader’s rebuttal brings up an interesting point in our collective attempts to confront climate change. With home and energy improvements, we should consider not just our own needs for our homes, but how any improvements could help or hurt the environment locally and globally. It is a balancing act. Many of the best technologies out there for improving our home’s efficiency are cost prohibitive and simply won’t fit in everyone’s budget. That shouldn’t stop us from asking all the right questions, perhaps formulating a long-term plan to do what we can now and budgeting for future improvements while addressing our remodeling needs. In the June 12 Address section, Globe correspondent Jon Gorey wrote a great article about what it takes and costs to make an old New England home greener. Even small improvements can make a difference.

Thank you, all, for your feedback. We do read all of your responses!

 

Q. My daughter has hardwood floors, and in her dining room, she has chairs with long metal bases. Her house cleaner washed her floor and then replaced the chairs before it was dry. Now the floor has ugly black marks. Is there a way to get rid of them other than refinishing the floors?

L.L.

A. Those stains certainly sound superficial, a reaction of the metal to the cleaning agent perhaps? They should be on the surface, so I would try an ultra-fine sandpaper (220 grit or higher), giving them a little scuff and applying a small amount of polyurethane. Depending on how the floor has ambered in color, a polyurethane with a stain color mixed in might be the way to go. These can be bought premixed at any hardware store.

Mark Philben is the project development manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Send your questions to [email protected]. Questions are subject to editing. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Twitter @globehomes.