Guest Post by Amelia from Smooth Decorator
Every once in awhile our homes could stand to be refreshed and updated. If you think your home’s time is now, don’t hesitate to invest some money in a strategic home renovation that will give it new life. If you haven’t already, you might want to consider doing some green renovations, which is quickly becoming a part of a widely growing eco-trend. Here’s how you can have a green home remodel and end up with a home that’s both beautiful and environmentally conscious.
1. Consider the size
If you’re planning to invest in some home additions, such as a sunroom or a garage, first think about how much you are really going to use it. After all, being eco-friendly means using as few materials as you can and creating the least possible carbon footprint. In today’s era, people are often investing in huge houses and spacious additions, but end up using only a portion of that space. So, if you really need some extra space, you might want to consider bumping up the roof and turning your attic into a guest bedroom, a second bathroom or a study. Your home’s footprint will stay intact, and you’ll end up with a lot of new space.
2. Buy reclaimed materials
The Western world is obsessed with all things new and shiny. However, other materials that didn’t just come from the store are much more eco-friendly and oftentimes much more beautiful and charming. So, find some reclaimed wood for your flooring, walls or even kitchen countertops. You could save money and energy to invest in adding another element or upgrade and end up with a super-
charming and chic detail in your home. Other options are popping up like salvage shops and Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores that offer great finds for reclaimed and used materials.
3. Opt for vintage and antique
Another way to avoid buying new is to visit antique shops and vintage stores. They usually contain everything from hardware and lighting fixtures to furniture and decorations. These vintage items will also help save the planet and give your home some extra charm that can’t be replicated with brand-new items.
4. Become an energy star
If you think your home could use a little upgrade when it comes to appliances, you might want to take a look at new energy-efficient appliances that use a lot less energy for the same operations than older, traditional ones. Look for refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, and machine washers that carry an Energy Star label. They will save you some significant money on the utility bills in the future, and some even cost less from the start. You can also opt for an on-demand water heater, which is a total game changer compared to the giant water tanks of previous generations.
5. Conserve water
Speaking of water…. Just like electricity, every eco-friendly home should also pay attention to its water consumption. Luckily, today there are convenient low-flow toilets and showerheads that waste much less water. You can also install aerators to your bathroom and kitchen faucets. These are quite cheap, easy to install and spend water consciously and efficiently.
6. Use eco-friendly paints and materials
VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds have been a subject of many health and environment debates. They are usually found in paints, furnishing, carpets, office materials and different cleaners. For instance, once you paint your walls with traditional paint, it will continue to release gas into the environment and create pollutants that are hazardous to both people and the planet. However, there are low- and zero-VOC paints that are practically odorless. You can also invest in carpets and furniture made of natural fabrics and use home-made or organic cleaners for your home.\
Consider green flooring
If you’re planning on removing and replacing your floors, you can opt for a greener option than hardwood. For instance, bamboo is much more sustainable than other woods used for flooring, plus it’s durable and strong. Another eco-friendly flooring option is cork, which is becoming more and more popular as it’s eco-friendly, naturally resistant to mold and allergens, as well as soft (perfect for standing). Surprisingly, linoleum is another green flooring option you can try. It’s made of linseed oil and other natural materials which makes it quite eco-friendly. Another thing you can do is cover your outdoor floors and driveways with protective epoxy paint that will ensure they stay intact for many years to come.
7. Invest in good insulation
The better your home’s insulation, the lower the energy waste. That means your home will be better able to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, allowing you to set your heating and cooling at a lower setting. Putting up proper insulation might be a considerable investment now, but it will conserve a significant amount of energy and keep your wallet bulky in the future.
There are several types of insulation to consider installing. While fiberglass batts and blankets are the most common and cheap, they are often the least effective and contain Phenol formaldehyde, which is linked to cancer. Loose-fill cellulose is a good option for filling in walls and ceilings. The makeup of cellulose insulation typically is around 85% post-consumer recycled paper, plus 15% fire retardant. That’s usually a borate compound, which also helps deter pests. Polyurethane spray foam is a very efficient form of insulation, stopping the movement of both moisture and air. However, the trade-off to the efficiency of energy is environmental and health issues caused by VOCs released during application and while curing, which can cause asthma and other serious health effects. So it is advised wait up to three days to re-enter.
8. Give solar energy a shot
If you ever considered installing solar panels on your roof, now is the perfect time to do it. Solar power technology has never been more efficient and cost-effective than it is now. So if your location has good solar potential, give some major thought to making the investment. Solar panels will keep your energy bill low and provide you with security in times of blackouts, storms, and potential energy crises. A climate change and a serious shortage of non-renewable resources are pushing more and more people to turn their homes into an eco-friendly oasis. It’s not very complicated or costly, but it makes a huge difference for the planet and future generations.