Before tackling a time-consuming and complicated home remodel, consult with a remodeling contractor about the project. If completing home renovations that are less harmful to the environment is important to you, choose a home remodeling contractor that understands your principles and has ideas to bring your vision to light. There are several simple ways to ensure your home remodel project is sustainable.
When you use sustainable building materials in home construction, you decrease your negative impact on the environment. As you choose the materials you want to use for your project, consider the types that are certified to be less impactful on the environment. Many of these materials don’t contain chemicals that negatively affect the quality of your indoor air.
Materials with the Greenguard certification have been tested and proven to meet strict emission standards. These materials don’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are airborne chemicals that come from home construction materials and may cause negative health effects after long-term exposure.
Choosing natural materials also decreases your chances of negatively impacting your indoor air quality since they’re less likely to contain VOCs. Some of the most popular natural materials to use in a home remodel include:
- Natural linoleum;
These materials are known to last longer than manufactured products so you won’t need to waste additional materials to replace them periodically.
Think Energy Efficient
Not only do inefficient appliances waste energy, but they can also cost you extra money. A 21-cubic foot refrigerator using 750 watts of power costs an average of $27 each month to run, which can add up fast when you factor in additional energy use each month.
When shopping for appliances for your remodel project, consider purchasing those with the Energy Star logo. Appliances with the Energy Star certification operate more efficiently by using less water and/or electricity. This efficiency saves you money while also reducing the number of greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.
Salvage and Reuse
Before you demolish your kitchen or knock down your bathroom fixtures, it’s important to determine if your home remodeling project is worth it. Demolishing an entire room and recreating it the way you want it is expensive, time-consuming, and bad for the environment.
In 2018, the U.S. population threw out 292.4 million tons of solid waste. When these materials are thrown away, they contribute to the global waste problem. Salvaging and reusing materials can help make your project more environmentally-friendly. Before you swing the sledgehammer, consider how you can reuse materials, such as light fixtures or bathroom vanities, instead of throwing them out.
Buying pre-owned furniture and materials for your home remodel project is another way to reduce your impact on the environment. When you opt for pre-owned materials, you’re reducing the demand for brand-new materials to be manufactured, decreasing the amount of energy and resources used.
Visit organizations that offer pre-owned items, such as Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, or local thrift and consignment shops. Keep an open mind as you browse and consider how a pre-owned piece could be cleaned or refinished to compliment your new space.
Sometimes, you don’t need to completely tear a room apart to improve its aesthetic and functionality. A fresh coat of paint can often give you the look you’re trying to achieve without tearing down walls or replacing fixtures.
If you’ve determined your space simply needs a repaint to freshen it up, choose an eco-friendly paint to keep your project sustainable. Several paint types offer low VOC emissions and minimize odors, keeping your indoor air environment clean and healthy. For example, Behr offers zero-VOC paint, and Farrow & Ball sells eco-friendly paint with minimal VOCs.
Adding the right insulation to your home is a great way to make daily living more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. When high-quality, proper insulation is installed, your home stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, cutting down on the amount of energy you use each month.
Insulation installation is a home renovation project you shouldn’t DIY because a professional must determine the right type and amount of product for your home. If you use an improper amount or type of insulation, you can create a fire safety hazard in your home. Discuss your desire for sustainability with the contractor you hire and work with so they can suggest more eco-friendly materials.
If you’re worried about the health and safety of your indoor air, you may want to consider insulation without fiberglass or formaldehyde. Wool, cork, or cotton are sustainable materials that may be used as insulation. Spray-foam insulation may not be all-natural but is known for its efficiency, so you won’t need as much material as you would with traditional insulation.
Take Advantage of the Sun
Solar power is becoming a popular, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly way to provide energy to homes. In the U.S., there are more than two million solar installations and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. Even if you install a small solar-powered system that’s only capable of powering your front porch lights or a water feature, you’re still making your home more energy-efficient.
If you’re not ready to invest in solar power yet, consider adding skylights. When you install skylights in a room, you bring in natural light, reducing your reliance on electricity. Not only do skylights brighten up a room, the natural sunlight that pours in may also help to heat your home, which decreases your power usage.
If you’re careful during demolition, you may be able to save some materials to donate instead of throwing them in the dumpster. Leftover materials or items that are being replaced can also be donated to local secondhand, thrift, or consignment shops instead of being taken to a landfill. Other homeowners may be able to repurpose these materials for their upcoming projects.
No matter what type of home renovation project you plan to tackle, you can make it sustainable by implementing some of these ideas. When you make your home more energy-efficient, pay attention to the materials you’re using, and reuse what you can, you’ll keep your renovation environmentally-friendly.