I’m a sucker for anything eco-friendly. Post-consumer recycled products, gently used items, gorgeous antiques — I love them all. I’ve also worked hard to give up things I used to enjoy because they’re bad for the planet. Balloons, gone. Fireworks, gone. Disposable straws, gone. It’s not always easy, but I find the strength to do it because it’s right. Taking care of the environment is important because, as Star-Lord said in Guardians of the Galaxy, “I’m one of the idiots who lives in it.”
One new way I’m looking at being eco-friendly is in the remodel we’re doing on our house. Tearing things out and building fresh is a great way to really green the place up. That said, the process of remodeling can be a little hard on the environment if you don’t go about it the right way.
If you’re planning on renovating and rejuvenating your home like I am, you’ll want to take some time to make sure you do it without causing any further harm to the environment. Somewhere between the inaugural decluttering and taking out walls with a sledgehammer, sit down and plan exactly what it is you want to accomplish and how you can do it in a sustainable manner.
But how exactly do you go about an eco-friendly home remodel?
Choose Eco-Friendly Materials
There are a plethora of environmentally friendly building materials available on the market today. Recycled glass, bamboo flooring and engineered hardwood, cotton insulation, low-VOC paints — all are durable and easy on the planet. Choosing green materials such as flooring, insulation, and paints saves precious natural resources and minimizes your family’s exposure to noxious substances. Also, by purchasing local supplies whenever possible, fewer resources are used to transport the materials and greenhouse gasses are reduced.
Focus On Deconstruction
Before you start tearing down walls willy-nilly, take a few moments to walk around and spot what you can salvage. You might be surprised to see just how much can be reused! Pay special attention to flooring, molding, stone, bricks, tile, cabinets, light fixtures, and doors. By reusing materials, you’ll save resources and money at the same time!
Don’t Replace, Reface!
Speaking of reusing materials, you can save a lot of waste by refacing parts of your home instead tossing them out and buying new. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, old doors, countertops — all can be refaced with paint or stain to freshen the look and give them new life. This way, less junk ends up in the landfill and you can skip the energy expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions that go into making new products.
Donate & Recycle
A lot of rubbish, debris, and materials will make their way out of your house during a renovation. Fortunately, there are a couple different ways to keep it all from ending up in the landfill. Donate reusable building materials to your local Habitat for Humanity. All proceeds from the sales of your donations will go to building new homes for the underprivileged. You’ll get the double bonus of being environmentally friendly and giving back to the community!
For anything not salvageable, do a bit of research and find out what can be recycled. Once you’re armed with knowledge, look for local recyclers who can take the material off your hands.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that everything you purchase for your renovation project needs to be the newest, shiniest model. However, by purchasing appliances, cabinets, and other finish products that are gently used, you can save thousands of dollars and take part in a circular economy.
Furniture, decor, and kitchenware can be picked up at thrift shops for pennies on the dollar. If you’re an attentive shopper and really rifle through things, you can find some genuine treasures that will add authentic charm to your home. Plus, the thrill of discovery can’t be beat!
There are many ways to make your home remodel an eco-friendly affair. When you focus on renovating in an environmentally conscious manner, you help the planet, give back to your community, and save a lot of money. And, in the end, you get to live in a home that is both beautiful and sustainable. What’s better than that?
Are you planning any home projects?
Also by Liz: 5 Things I Learned From *Actually* Doing A Pinterest-Style Home Renovation
Related: Home is Where the Heart is: How to Make Your Space Greener
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