Making Sustainable Renovations In Your House
Guest blogger Anita Franco
Renovating and remodelling are far greener choices than rebuilding a home from scratch. Renovation work provides the opportunity for home owners to reuse and repurpose materials already found in the property, creating a positive impact on energy consumption and overall sustainability.
Choosing to remodel your home with the aim of embracing a sustainable lifestyle will help you sidestep the environmentally damaging elements common to renovation projects. It will also serve to change your quality of life in many unexpected and beneficial ways.
Even if you aren’t undergoing major renovations, making small changes can have a big impact. For example, switching from a gas powered to electric lawn mower can help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and will also save you money in the long-run.
Additionally, local, state, and federal agencies offer a number of different incentives for making sustainable lifestyle choices. Some fittings used in sustainable remodelling work such as windows, insulation, and doors, or even donating the materials you are not going to reuse, can garner tax benefits.
Where To Begin
Before you begin remodelling, think about what can be reused or repurposed. Planning ahead before deconstruction work begins will help you to make the most of all the materials you have on hand. It will also allow you to reduce waste as well as help you to preserve items for reuse, donation, or repurposing for another area of your home.
The three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – are core elements of a sustainable lifestyle. Repurposing items and giving careful thought to how each part of the soon-to-be-renovated area will be dealt with can prevent unnecessary purchases and ensure everything is managed in the greenest way possible. This will save you money and reduce the impacts of emissions, transportation, and manufacturing on the environment.
One Step At A Time
Choosing to remodel your entire home for a more sustainable lifestyle can seem like a daunting, if not impossible, task. Rather than tackling everything at once, approach the work in stages. Take one step at a time toward a greener way of living.
If you want to cut your energy consumption, begin with replacing high-consumption items with more efficient options. This could include energy efficient appliances, on-demand water heating or heat pumps, and solar equipment.
When it comes to changing the layout of your home or creating dual-use rooms to increase sustainability and move toward greener living, try working on a room-by-room basis. This is often more manageable than tackling your bathrooms, kitchen, and living spaces at once. It will also allow you to continue living in your home as the changes are being made.
Choosing Green Materials
Deciding which materials to purchase for sustainable remodelling can be difficult. Knowing what to look for and why can be challenging, not least of all because there are no EPA regulations for terms such as ‘organic,’ ‘sustainable,’ or ‘natural.’ On top of this, not all environmentally friendly building materials are created equal.
Certifications like Energy Star and Greenguard can give home renovators an idea of the level of sustainability. But other considerations, such as the climate you are in, toxic emissions, and which way the property faces, should all be factored in so a truly green choice can be made for your circumstances.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) should be avoided wherever possible in sustainable renovation works. VOCs can be found in all manner of items, from paints to pesticides, wood preservatives and adhesives. They can have long term health risks such as eye, nose, and throat irritations, or damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous systems. In most cases, natural products and green materials are far more durable and effective than non-sustainable, man made compounds could ever be.
Making Sustainable Renovations In Your House
Renovating a home for increased sustainability does not need to be an expensive proposition. Thoughtful deconstruction of areas that will be remodelled can produce savings in terms of reduced need for material purchases, tax rebates, and other financial incentives.
Choosing to purchase necessary items locally, or from second-hand dealers, can cut costs further. With a little thought and planning, a sustainable renovation can be rewarding in both savings and providing a healthier and greener lifestyle.