Go Green: Eco-Friendly Home Remodeling

Reader Contribution by Cooper Klein

Home renovation projects are never as fun as home redecoration projects and they tend to be pricey, which is why people are not very eager on tackling them. However, if you just stop for a second and consider all the long-term benefits a smart, eco-friendly remodel brings, this project becomes much more appealing. Therefore, if you want to make sure that you did everything in your power to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and provide your family with a healthy and green living environment, check out these ideas. Additionally, by choosing to go green when remodeling, you stand a good chance of even saving some money in the process.

Organize and Plan

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Before you get down to any actual work, you should first determine what needs to be remodeled. More accurately, remodeling a single room, like the bathroom or kitchen, does not require the same amount of planning and preparation as remodeling your entire home does. Therefore, think about the changes you are planning to make and organize everything accordingly to avoid any unpleasant situations and reduce the downtime, as well as any chance of delay, as much as possible.

Hire the right professionals

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Once you have the scope of your remodeling efforts in place, you should make sure that you hire the right people for the job. Since big remodeling projects call for a lot of professionals working on the same thing, hiring the ones with a green mindset will be your first step toward a green and eco-friendly remodel. These professionals will (or, at least, should) recommend you the right materials, and advise you about the best ways you can work with nature, not against it, to reduce your bills in the future. These tips include everything from the position of your windows, through maximizing the natural resources, to sustainability and durability of certain products and materials.

Determine What to Do with Debris

Every remodeling project will leave you with a certain amount of debris and materials that are no longer useful to you. So, what you should do is see if the contractors could make use of those materials in their future projects; try to find someone who might need them or repurpose them yourself. For example, use old bricks to create new flower beds for your garden, or old wood to make new garden furniture or a deck. Also, make sure you recycle and dispose of the materials that can no longer be used the right way. Keep in mind that, with just a bit of creativity, you’ll be able to reuse the majority of materials you’ll be left with.

Choose the Right Materials

No matter the scope of the remodel, you should always make sure you choose the right materials. Apart from being sturdy and durable, the materials you choose should also be sustainable and green. So, when choosing, the best option would be to go with materials that contain no (or have very little) components that are potentially toxic—like asbestos-free insulants, low- or zero-VOC materials, as well as eco-friendly materials, such as cork or bamboo—these grow pretty fast and are good alternatives for wood—as well as reclaimed hardwood.  

Important Considerations

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Finally, once all the hard work is done, it’s time to choose the right elements to implement in your freshly remodeled home. When it comes to these, durability and quality are your two top priorities. So, make sure you go with stainless steel, stone and marble in your kitchen; browse ceramic bathtubs and sinks, as well as ceramic or stone tiles for your bathroom; and lastly, choose fabrics made of high-quality materials for your bedroom and living room.

Finishing Touches

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Finally, check out all the ways you can make the most of the natural resources. For example, positioning the windows on the right (sunny) side of your house will reduce your electricity bill, since you’ll be using more natural light as opposed to having to use artificial light. Next, by opting for the right insulation (cork or insulation made of recycled materials), as well as window and door treatments (double-glazed options) you will reduce your heating bill. Also, implementing solutions like solar panels, systems for rainwater collecting, and smart irrigation systems will only additionally lower your monthly expenses.

Going green, and not just when remodeling projects are concerned, is never a bad idea. Opting for eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible will allow you to not only reduce your bills and carbon footprint, but also lead a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle, knowing that you are doing your best to do something nice for Mother Nature in return for everything she’s offered to you.