By: David Wheeler
Going green doesn’t have to cost you a lot of green when it comes to remodeling your home. It’s easy to use upgraded materials without introducing harmful chemicals into your house. Choosing sustainable materials for a home project is a great way to ensure your remodel is beautiful and environmentally friendly. Check out these eco-friendly and sustainable remodeling tips when tackling your next home project.
Check the Materials
Many chemicals could be hiding in your favorite building materials. Kitchen cabinets are notorious for including formaldehyde. Other dangerous chemicals are used in flooring materials. Check with your architect about the materials they use. Note that the safer options may be more expensive, but your family’s well-being is worth the extra cost. Just make sure to allow room in the budget to cover these higher quality materials. And remember the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.
The demolition process is an excellent time to make your project eco-friendly. When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, it’s possible to cover over the wall with new tile for a backsplash instead of demolishing the entire wall. This will not only save on costs to rebuild, it will lessen the amount of trash going into the landfill. It will also prevent your family from breathing in the dust that demolition creates.
Choose Reclaimed and Recycled Materials
One of the easiest ways to get into the green scene is to use older items that would otherwise be thrown out. These can include reclaimed wood pieces or even upcycled supplies that can serve another purpose. Reclaimed windows are a good option for many projects as long as they’re double-paned and energy-efficient. If you live in an area where wood is a primary source of heating your home, it should be easy to find reclaimed wood pieces that you could find a use for.
You’ll find plenty of items in local thrift shops, antique stores, and other places that specialize in reclaimed materials. Consider a large piece of reclaimed wood for a new mantle or use an old door to create a barn door. Teak is an excellent choice since it’s rot-resistant and tends to hold up in more humid areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Look for items that were recently returned to the store but are in good shape. These usually cost a fraction of the original price. A word of warning: make sure the item isn’t covered with lead paint. If so, you’ll want to strip the paint and refinish it.
Be Picky About Paint
Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) or VOC-free paint is the best option when painting a newly remodeled room. Traditional paint is full of chemicals that could be dangerous to you and the environment. These new painting options reduce the number of chemicals in your home.
Keep Energy in Mind
Homes that are energy-efficient help the environment and save you money on electric bills. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs within your home and solar lighting options for outside areas. You’ll also want to consider energy-efficient appliances that use less electricity. Upgrading to double or even triple-paned windows is another way to ensure that your home stays warm in the winter and cool during the summer.
Maintain Your Lawn
Remodeling the inside adds value to your home. Keeping the outside fresh and green adds curb appeal. A 25-square-foot healthy lawn produces enough oxygen to meet the needs of one person. Lawns also reduce global warming by taking in carbon dioxide. A thick lawn will also prevent soil erosion and reduce runoff that sends water and pollutants into streams and sewers.
To keep your yard eco-friendly, avoid using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Instead of bagging those grass clippings, use them to mulch and fertilize your lawn and garden. Go a step further by composting those old fruits and vegetables and use the compost to enhance your flower beds. Plant only flowers and trees that are native to South Carolina. The Southern Magnolia tree and coreopsis flower need little water or maintenance to thrive in our climate.
Using sustainable materials will not only help the environment but will also cut down on the chemicals being introduced into your home. Remember, good planets are hard to find. These eco-friendly remodeling tips will ensure Earth is around for the next generations.
David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.