7 Renovation Ideas to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
Are you looking to update you home? Remodelling can be an exciting time, where you bring fresh ideas and update your style. But it’s also a great opportunity to make your home more eco-friendly. From building materials and sustainable manufacturing, through to energy efficient appliances, you can reduce your environmental impact throughout the construction process and all the way into the future.
1. Install renewable flooring
Some types of flooring use VOC (volatile organic compounds) in their manufacturing, which can lead to air contamination in your home and create potential health risks for your family. Your best option for renewable flooring are linoleum and natural fibre carpets. The cork used in linoleum is harvested in a manner that doesn’t damage the cork tree it’s taken from. You can also find carpets that are made using grasses and reeds. Other green options for sustainable flooring include bamboo, stone, hardwood and ceramic, so you’re not limited by choice.
2. Consider your insulation options
To reduce the use of heating and cooling in your home, make sure it’s properly insulated, including insulated glass for the windows. Insulation protects your home from the elements, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler during the summer month, so you won’t have to use less eco-friendly options like air conditioning to keep your home feeling comfortable. In terms of eco-friendly insulation, use loose-fill insulation made from cellulose fiber. You should also think about replacing single-glazed windows with double-glazed ones to help trap heat.
3. Maximise use of solar energy
Optimising the use of solar energy is a big consideration when remodelling your home as it’s not only great for the environment, it can lower your energy bill too. Things like skylights can help heat the home during winter and solar panels can be installed to your roof to contribute to powering your home.
You should also think about the positioning of your windows, screens and use of shades to allow the sunlight in during winter and block it out during summer. According to the Australian Greenhouse Office, 30% of household energy bills could be eliminated using passive heating and cooling designs. Passive design principles use the physical orientation of your home and an understanding of seasonal weather patterns to build a house that requires minimal health and cooling to be comfortable all year round. For example, you should open up the side of your living area that faces north to the winter sun and use trees for shading.
4. Use recycled materials
Recycled materials not only help conserve resources, but they also use less energy and create few pollutants during the manufacturing process, making them the ultimate eco-friendly addition to your home. Examples of recycled materials are things like driveway pavers made from recycled rubber tires, masonry veneers made from pulverized stone chips, and slate-style shingles created using ground-up quarry waste.
5. Install low-voltage lighting
Conventional lighting systems that use line-voltage wiring and incandescent bulbs waste energy by producing both light and heat. On the other hand, low-voltage lighting use a transformer to reduce the voltage and fluorescent and halogen bulbs convert most of the energy into light, rather than heat as well.
6. Think about how you can reuse materials
If your remodelling is going to involve pulling down walls and knocking down rooms, consider what you might be able to salvage and reuse before you start tearing things down. There’s likely to be some material you can salvage like light fixtures, flooring, bricks, cabinets and molding, which can be used in your new rooms. Not only is this an eco-friendly renovating option, it will save you money too.
7. Look for energy efficient appliances
When remodelling your home, you’re probably wanting to upgrade your appliances to suit your new interior. Large appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators and ovens use a lot of electricity, but there are plenty of energy efficient options available. Look for the Energy Star logo on them and find the most energy efficient model. The label will compare the model with the energy and water consumption of similar models. You can also fit water-saving showerheads in your bathrooms to reduce your home’s water consumption.
In terms of gas-fired appliances like stoves, water heaters and fireplaces, the pilot lights release a small amount of carbon monoxide. Not all of the carbon monoxide can escape through vent pipes, meaning it can build up indoors. If you’re installing gas-fired appliances, look for sealed units that use outdoor air for combustion, or an electronic spark for ignition, rather than pilot lights.
Remodelling your home is a great opportunity to create a greener, more energy efficient home. Investing a bit of time and money into making environmentally-conscious decisions will not only have future financial benefits for you through reduced water and energy use, it will lead to many decades of sustainable living.
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