So you’re thinking of remodeling your home, but you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint. An informed home renovation project can contribute to sustaining a greener Earth. There are dozens of reasons why you should consider going green for your home renovation project and dozens of ways to achieve a sustainable renovation. Here are 10 simple ways to renovate your home for sustainability
New and shiny doesn’t always mean best. Reclaimed materials like wood flooring and furniture can add character to your home while simultaneously protecting the environment. Often, these items would just be going to the landfill, thus creating more waste. By reclaiming these items, you are saving the time, money, energy, and resources it would take to produce something new.What if I’m not interested in something vintage?Upcycling is a trend growing in popularity where recycled items restored to their former glory of given a paint job or reworking in order to fit with a more modern style. There are plenty of salvage shops that have inventories of beautiful furniture that is expertly crafted.
Don’t Demolish – Deconstruct
There’s no sense in tearing down and destroying parts of your home that could otherwise be salvaged or reused. Think twice before taking that sledgehammer to every room in your home and give yourself a tour instead. Make note of what you like about your space and what you think you could reuse for later or move into another room to be repurposed. Not only will this contribute to a more environmentally friendly space, but it will save you money.
Once you’ve adequately assessed which pieces of your home you’ll be getting rid of in the renovation or remodel, it’s still important to try and maintain them during your uninstall because they can always be donated to the next person. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and just because you didn’t like the way your chandelier looked in your dining room doesn’t mean that your neighbor won’t! Drop off pieces to your local Goodwill or Consignment Shop or find a Habitat for Humanity nearby and drop off pieces there.
Alternatively, buy donated items. If you’re strapped for cash or on a strict, tight budget and still looking to remodel, consider taking advantage of what these places have to offer. 100% of the proceeds items sold to Habitat are used to build new homes for the underprivileged, so not only are you achieving your dream home, but you’re positively impacting the community.
Use Locally Sourced Materials
Buying locally source materials requires less energy and resources to transport from the site to your doorstep and means that your products will be more accustomed to your specific climate and weather patterns. Additionally, you’ll be supporting a small local business and contributing to the local economy.
Going solar can greatly improve your carbon footprint. The sun is a renewable source of energy and by installing solar panels or building your own wind and solar power system, you’ll be able to use your electricity guilt free and for less.
Energy Efficient Appliances
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, if each of us “increases the energy-efficiency in our major appliances by 10 – 30%, we’ll decrease the demand electricity by the equivalent of 25 large power plants!” Similarly, energy efficient appliances also save money. The less power or energy your appliance uses, the less it costs to run.
Go Low Flow
A low flow toilet will save the planet by conserving water. Did you know that older toilets can use 1.6, 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush? Combat this without much effort by installing low flow toilets that are easy to use.
Use Low VOC Paints
Often, the chemicals in paints can contribute to serious health issues. Not only are they detrimental to the plant, but they can seriously damage your health. Protect your family with low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, which use water in place of these petroleum-based solvents.
Insulate Your Home
The better insulated your home is, the better it will be protected from the elements. Your home will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, which means less running back and forth to the thermostat for you so you can enjoy your cozy winter nights and cool summer days.
Reface Don’t Replace
Do you need an upgrade or are you simply wishing for a change? A quick paint job or a revamp might just do the trick. Paint your cabinets or doors a new color, and your home can look as good as new without breaking the bank or increasing your carbon footprint.
There are also ways to go green without completely changing the makeup and design of your home. Replace your water heater. Put in new windows to replace the outdated single-paned glass. Purchase an improved thermostat., or from a company that prides itself on providing ethical, environmentally friendly products. All of our products use environmentally friendly resins and glues with wood in conjunction with ethically sourced, high-quality materials.
Why Go Sustainable
An eco-friendly home renovation can not only help save the planet but help save your wallet. Caught up in the myth that sustainability means breaking the bank? According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “the typical household spends about $2,150 a year on residential energy bills. LEED-certified homes can save 30-60 percent on those bills.” That’s a huge saving! You won’t just save money on bills. By channeling the three R’s of green living, reduce, reuse, recycle, you’ll also save money on the total cost of your project. Homeowners who go green often wind up saving upwards of $12,900 over the course of 10 years.
How to Start
Performing an energy audit is the first step. Someone will come to your house to help you find out exactly how sustainable your home is. Once the audit is performed, they will give you ways that you can change or adjust your current space in order to conserve. Keep these comments in mind throughout your project and you’ll be well on your way to clean living! With just a few simple tweaks and adjustments, you can greatly minimize your effect on the planet and renovate your home for sustainability.