October 13, 2020 | Tanya Mayer, Guest Poster
Proper home insulation is key in having an eco-friendly, energy-efficient home. The rule is – the better insulated your home is, the better protection it will have from the elements. It will also cut your energy bill and save you money in the long run. Your home will be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and your bank account will remain in the black!
After a certain time, our homes need some updating and change, regardless of how much TLC we give them. They simply start looking dated and tired and in obvious need of some refreshing. One way to go about it is to move to a larger and prettier home but given the state of the (world) economy, that might not be the smartest move these days. What seems a far wiser solution, both for your budget and for our environment, is renovating your home the eco-friendly way.
Contrary to common opinion, such a renovation doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s all about smart solutions and resourcefulness which will result in having a rejuvenated and inviting home that accommodates your needs and lifestyle.
The basic eco principle is to re-use and reconstruct instead of demolishing and throwing things away. At the first stage of your renovation project, take a tour of your home and see what can be reconstructed, salvaged and repurposed. It’s an eco-friendly but also budget-friendly approach. Consider repurposing and upcycling things such as tiles, flooring, light fixtures, bricks and cabinets. Something that doesn’t work anymore in one room, might just fit perfectly in another space. And with so many blogs and informative YouTube tutorials available at any time, you can easily find inspiration and advice on almost any type of home renovation project to do on your own.
There are lots of stores around the country that specialize in selling used household items in excellent condition, from large fridges that were in use for just a couple of years to kitchen cabinets, lamps, tables and chairs. A kitchen renovation typically costs a lot so by using pre-used items or by upcycling your existing ones, you can save a lot of money and keep your stuff from ending up at a landfill.
If you do insist on buying new kitchen appliances, look for the energy-efficient models with the Energy Star logo. There, you’ll find all the information you need about their energy consumption. Many of the new appliances, particularly large upscale models, consume more electricity so, in the long run, they cost you even more. Contrary to that, energy-efficient models may cost more initially, but will save you money in the long term, reducing the power bills.
In eco-friendly homes, air quality is also at the highest standard and you can achieve this by avoiding household products, beauty products and building materials that contain formaldehyde. This is a toxic substance and will compromise both your indoor air quality as well as your health and the environment. There are many manufacturers that offer formaldehyde and VOC-free products that do not emit these harmful molecules.
When choosing your building materials such as flooring, go with sustainable options like bamboo or repurposed or salvaged wood. Bamboo, in particular, is a durable and moisture-resistant material that is sourced from wood that grows back much faster than typical wood used for floors and is grown with fewer pesticides. Such a choice on your part will help save other tree species and old-growth forests but you’ll still have a great-looking, contemporary floor with tons of charm and character.
The news is filled with reports about water shortages all over the world so to make your contribution in saving the planet, as a part of your home renovation plan, invest in water-saving taps and showerheads, and low-flow toilets. You’ll still have great water pressure and still be able to flush with ease, but your water consumption will be drastically cut.
There is no cleaner, safer and more environmentally-friendly type of energy than solar. It’s powerful and renewable and collecting it via solar panels on your roof, you can generate enough electricity to run your entire home (providing adequate battery storage is available). You can also choose to combine wind and solar power and create your own mini-grid. This will allow you to sell surplus energy back to the operators or allow you to be fully off-grid if you desire.
Finding eco-friendly ways to renovate your home isn’t difficult if you follow the tips listed here. Going with an environmentally-friendly renovation project will not only benefit the health of our planet, but it will also allow you to explore innovative ideas as you work on your home, save serious cash and give back to the community.