While in an ideal scenario you’d probably want to move to a bigger house, the economy is giving your two choices – remodelling and extending. So, you’ve set down the road of renovating your home to make it more interesting but also to better accommodate your current lifestyle and needs. Even so, while your and your family’s health should be your primary concern, staying on top of your budget is always welcome. Take note of these environmentally-friendly home renovation tips that won’t force you to take out a second mortgage.
Buy reclaimed materials
Reclaimed wood is not only eco-friendly, but also very appealing and increasingly popular in upscale renovation circles. It can be used with great success for countertops, flooring, even walls. It’s not a rare case to see it around the kitchen hood as well. Just think about the time, energy, and money you’d need to produce a similar product from scratch.
Choose locally sourced materials
Buying eco-friendly product is great, but if it has to be shipped from across the county, its greenness dwindles away. As a great alternative to buying reclaimed, purchase locally-sourced materials that require far less energy to get to your door. In addition, local professionals possess a vast knowledge of nearby communities, types of homes and even the local climate, all of which can be useful for your project.
Instead of demolishing – deconstruct
Before you go full sledgehammer and start tearing down walls and knocking down entire rooms, walk around your home with a notepad and see what can be salvaged and reused before it goes down. Not only is this an eco-friendly approach, but it saves money in the end. Although ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ rule doesn’t always apply here, there’ll likely be a ton of material you can reuse, such as light fixtures, flooring, tile, bricks, cabinets, and moulding.
Insulate on the outside
For the façade insulation, choose a quality product such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) which is relatively inexpensive yet durable, lightweight, non-toxic and 100% recyclable. On top of it, it has fantastic thermal properties, so by applying only 100mm of the EPS to a solid wall takes down the u-value to 0.3 W/m2 or better. If you want to lower the cost even more, instead of purchasing yours, you can look into some of mobile aluminium scaffolding rental companies and rent a product that suits your project.
Upgrade to eco-friendly windows
Draughty windows are the plague of eco-friendly homes. If you don’t take the problem seriously, before you know it, your electricity bills on heating and cooling will definitely remind you that something isn’t right. While cellular PVC is a popular energy-efficient window material, it’s produced in a process that releases toxins into the atmosphere. Consider a few other green solutions such as a double and triple pane glass, sustainably-harvested wooden frames, and fibreglass frames made from sand, which is virtually an inexhaustible resource.
Use low-VOC paints
The favourable smell of a freshly-painted room actually comes from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that evaporate from painted surfaces at ordinary room temperature. Their presence in interior paints comes from petroleum-based solvents used in their production. Instead of these solvents, low-VOC paints use water, and produce no harmful emissions once applied to the walls.
Increase natural light with skylights
Reduce the time you use lamps during the day by adding skylights and illuminating your homes’ interior naturally. While installing them in every room isn’t very cost-effective, place them strategically in the rooms you most commonly use during the day, such as the living room and the dining room/kitchen. The scaffold you hired for the façade insulation can be of great help for this project as well. Remember to fit your skylights with automated blinds to block the sunlight when needed.
Renovating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. And if you choose to take your project a step further and renovate your home in an eco-friendly manner, you won’t only be helping the environment, but also giving back to your community, while saving some money in the process.
Lucas Bergman is a real estate agent and renewable energy consultant with many hobbies and passions, but above all, he enjoys the most spending time with his wife – Mara. He also likes Lord of the Rings. He, actually, very much likes Lord of the Rings. He is a regular contributor at smoothdecorator.com.