The Guide to an Eco-Friendly Renovation
It’s one thing just to renovate – it’s a whole different thing to renovate while keeping the planet’s best interest in mind. That’s right; today, we’re talking about eco-friendly renovation and, more specifically, the different ways to achieve it.
When we use the term “eco-friendly,” it’s important to note that there’s more to being green than meets the eye. The following inventive ideas can provide better energy savings, maximize sustainability, and considerably reduce footprints.
The reduction of your renovation’s footprint may occur at the time of the updates or even well into the far future. Either way, it’s time for you to join us as we think outside the box and help our planet – step by step!
Make Do With What You Have
Have you ever thought about your home’s location? And we do mean ‘really’ here. Your house’s orientation can make quite a significant difference in the long run.
Sunlight is key here. Those who are able to benefit from natural winter sunlight can reduce their energy expenditure by a large margin. Assuming your renovation plan is larger-scale and includes floor plan tweaks, you should discuss the matter of “flexibility” with your contractor.
By flexibility, we mean taking advantage of sunlight or (on the opposite spectrum) natural breezes for rooms that benefit the most from it. The former is especially important if you ever plan to include solar panels for your place.
Improving Insulation as a Long-Term Investment
We’ve gone over the various insulation benefits before, but they bear repeating. Once again, a proper and detailed discussion with your contractor is essential to achieving optimal results, especially regarding insulation and, more importantly, which parts of the house need it the most.
Your renovation builder may determine that certain untouched parts of your house are in dire need of some cork or cotton protection. Maybe your roof is a significant thermal counterpoise, or perhaps your windows could use some good old draught-proofing.
Regardless of the area(s) needing attention, the overall goal is to reduce unnecessary heat transfer, which has the added benefit of making your home all the more cozy and welcoming during harsher seasons. As for the materials, we already mentioned cork and cotton, but there are other eco-friendly options like cellulose, denim, and sheep’s wool, among others.
Reuse and Retain
Certain aspects and parts of your household may be cleverly reused or retained in ways that can meaningfully contribute to consumption and thus lower carbon footprints. Wood, metal, and certain hard plastics are reusable and/or recyclable.
Homeowners need to look out for chemicals within the materials, as that can impact their potential for recycling or reusability. With that said, recycling isn’t the be-all and end-all, as opting to use local instead of imported materials can also impact carbon and energy footprints.
Roofing materials, with the exception of sheathing, can be recycled or upcycled for different purposes – the roof of a shed or a doggy house, for example. Millwork that hasn’t been treated with lead-based paint is (in most cases) fully reusable. These are, of course, just a few examples – which is why you should always discuss reusability and recycling with a specialist!
Light’em Up With LED
Opting for LED lighting in favor of incandescent bulbs can go a long way in lowering those scary numbers that indicate unnecessary energy expenditure.
Between 15 and 20 percent of the energy used in households goes toward lighting alone, with incandescent lightbulbs wasting more than 80 percent of their own energy expenditure on heat generation instead of generating light. Luckily, LED does not waste anything, and the bulbs can last for years upon years!
The Beauty of Solar Panels and Rainwater Tanks
Solar panels are becoming more and more accessible and affordable to the average consumer with each passing day. Incorporating solar technology may still be possible, depending on where you’re at in your renovation endeavor. Besides being an eco-friendly power source, it also doesn’t hurt to have that additional option for your home.
As for the matter of rainwater tanks – including one in the design and landscaping of your home may prove quite beneficial in reducing unnecessary water consumption. Water tanks can be incorporated in a way that supplies plumbing and laundry equipment as well, so you won’t have to worry about this being a “useless” investment, especially if you don’t care about the gardening benefits.
So, did we manage to “plant” some creative eco-friendly solutions in your heads? We hope this article helped enlighten our readers on the alternatives of various materials and methods. Knowledge is power; in this case, it can even lead to choices that may benefit us all!