There’s no doubt that home renovations can have a negative environmental impact. Between the home features thrown to the curb, new materials, and energy use, these projects are not exactly the greenest option. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your commitment to the planet while making these home improvements. There are steps you can take to make your next project more sustainable.
“There has never been a better time to renovate green, given the abundance of Earth-friendly building material choices as well as contractors well-versed in energy- and resource-efficiency,” Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss write on a href=”https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/green-home-renovation/”>EarthTalk. “Many homeowners don’t realize that they can save money in the long run, despite the up front costs, by choosing materials and strategies that will lower utility bills and reduce maintenance and replacement costs moving forward.”
So, what can you do to reduce your environmental impact while creating your dream home? The following tricks might just be the answer.
- Select used, recycled, or reclaimed materials.
One of the best ways to reduce your environmental footprint is rising damp. And in the case of remodeling or homebuilders construction, this means selecting the right materials. See if your local recycling center offers used wood and glass. You may also find high quality appliances that have been lightly used (but watch out, old appliances are often extremely inefficient!). Some products also have fewer chemicals than others, so if you choose to buy new, consider using those types of materials.
- Donate your old items and appliances.
When you throw your old cabinets and appliances to the curb, you may feel like they are not your problem anymore. Unfortunatly, these products do not suddenly disappear from the Earth when the garbage truck takes them away. To prevent these objects from sitting in landfills, donate them instead. You can get them off your hands while providing another homeowner with a new fridge or table.
- Choose the best windows and doors.
While they might be more expensive, higher quality windows and doors will insulate your house better and lower your energy consumption. Drafty windows let air escape, increasing your energy bills by 10-25%. That’s not something you want to risk when trying to build a green home, so make sure your windows and doors are insulating the house.
- Invest in higher quality materials.
The better the materials, the longer they last. This means less waste in the long run. For example, copper gutters can last about 50 years, while galvanized steel gutters only last 20 years or less. Making the investment in the stronger material will mean far less metal in landfills and less consumption overall.
- Upgrade to renewable energy.
A home remodel is the perfect opportunity to install renewable energy in your home. By installing a solar panel, for example, you can make a true commitment to lowering your use of fossil fuels. Again, this is an initial investment with a huge payoff. If you can’t afford this now, perhaps spend some time setting goals.
When it comes to implementing a green remodel, it’s important to work within your own means. Remember that making a commitment to the planet does not have to happen in large-scale changes. Even small changes like using reusable and recycled products can make a big difference. See if your community has green home resources and get involved in local activism. When it comes to protecting the Earth, we all have a role.