Going green has become the next big wave in home renovations. People have realized that an eco-friendly home drives up their property value while also giving them a healthier and more sustainable place to live. If you are looking to renovate your home in an eco-friendly way, then look no further. Here are 5 ways in which you can make your home renovation green and reduce the impact it has on the environment.
1. Use green materials
The first thing to look at when renovating is the materials you are using. When choosing your materials, there are several factors you may want to take into consideration, including:
- How far away are you buying the materials from? Use locally sourced materials for your remodel. Because your goods aren’t being transported long distances, the carbon footprint will be lessened.
- Are you using sustainable materials? The type of material is just as important as where it is from. Some green materials to consider using in your home for flooring or cabinets are bamboo and cork. Bamboo is not only sustainable because it grows rapidly every day, but it is non-polluting as well. Cork can be harvested without killing the tree. When replacing insulation, one sustainable material is straw-clay, which is non-flammable and highly insulating.
- Instead of using new materials, try to reuse materials instead. Reclaimed wood for flooring and countertops is a great option. Not only is it trendy, but it reduces waste.
- Use non-toxic versions of insulation, paint, adhesives, and caulk to reduce the amount of chemicals and VOCs that you bring into your home and release into the atmosphere.
2. Go energy-efficient
When renovating, make sure that you install energy-efficient items to replace your old wasteful models. You can and should replace the following:
- Light Bulbs – Switching from incandescent to LED lightbulbs can help you save on your electricity bill by cutting down energy usage by 75%.
- Old appliances – Switching from an old refrigerator or dishwasher to an Energy Star certified model can reduce electricity usage by 12%-20%.
- Windows – Installing double-pane, energy-efficient windows will reduce the amount of warm air lost in the winter and the cool air lost in the summer, helping you save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
- Plumbing – Installing low-flow toilets and energy-efficient plumbing leads to less water waste and fewer chances of leaks.
If you are worried that the cost will outweigh the benefit, there are special financing programs to make your home energy efficient. Depending on what state you live in, there is a PACE program California, Missouri, and Florida that can help with the financial burden.
3. Reuse old items
When renovating, try to limit the new materials and furniture you buy. Instead of replacing your old cabinets, chairs, or tables, see if you can’t paint or refinish them to fit with your renovation. If that’s not possible, donate them to a second-hand furniture store instead of tossing them away. Reuse old hinges and doorknobs by shining them or repainting them, and use your old countertops as a trendy new garden path.
4. Recycle what you can’t reuse
If you can’t find a way to reuse something, make sure that you recycle it instead of throwing it away. Check with your local recycling center to see what can and can’t be recycled there. If you still have stuff that needs to be tossed out, make sure that it is thrown away responsibly. Old electronics and insulation will need to be disposed of in specific ways instead of just tossing them into your trash.
5. Reduce material use
Finally, the best way to reduce the footprint of your renovation is to just limit the scope of it. A smaller renovation will always be more eco-friendly than a larger one. Try to make your new renovations multipurpose. The new office space can double as a guest bedroom, or your new laundry room can also be a kitchen pantry.
These are just a few ways that you could reduce the eco-footprint of your home during a renovation, but they aren’t the only ways. How green you want to go is only limited by your budget.