Renovating your home doesn’t have to have a negative impact on the environment. In fact, there are plenty of eco-friendly home improvements that can also save you money.
Use Reclaimed Materials
When it comes to green home renovations, consider using reclaimed materials as a great make use of someone else’s discarded items while adding a little character. Reclaimed wood is particularly popular and can be used for everything from floors and wall treatments to kitchen islands and furniture.
Use Sustainable Materials
Using sustainable materials is a great way to minimize your impact on the environment. Bamboo, cork and natural wool are just a few examples of remodelling green that can make your home more sustainable and help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Salvage What You Can
Anytime you can safely avoid dumping things in the landfill, it’s a good thing. For instance, kitchen cabinets that are moldy or in disrepair often have to be scrapped, but if the boxes are sturdy and strong you can keep them and simply replace the doors. Hanging onto things that simply require a little upcycling is a great way to save money and lessen your environmental impact.
Enhance Natural Lighting With Sun Tunnels
Nothing beats natural light and while you can enhance it using techniques like placing mirrors across from windows, nothing beats a sun tunnel. When I built my new house I installed one in the upstairs laundry room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of the room and tried to turn off the light. I kid you not, it’s so bright that I always think I’ve left the lights on and it’s one of the easiest eco home upgrades you can do.
Low-Flow Bathroom Fixtures
If you’re replacing your toilet or shower there’s really no reason not to go with low-flow options. They’re a top environmentally-friendly renovation because they save water, but they can also save you quite a bit of money over time. And as far as comfort and functionality go, these days everything is so well made that it’s unlikely you’ll ever even notice the difference.
Focus on Energy Efficiency
Anything you can do to increase energy efficiency is a good thing – both ecologically and financially-speaking. I suggest going around the house and looking for anywhere that air may leak. Windows and doors are common culprits so, as one of the easier eco-friendly home improvements you can do, make sure you’ve caulked or used weather stripping where appropriate.
Start the Thermostat
I love smart thermostats. I can pre-program the temperature to keep it low when we’re not home or when we’re asleep and have it warm up just as we get home or wake up. And the ability to control it via smart phone is a game-changer. I’ve saved a ton of money since installing one and I’ve also helped reduce the amount of energy we use. Win-win.
I’m a fan of buying local whenever possible. Not only does it help support businesses, but you help reduce the environmental impact caused by shipping. While it’s not always possible, it’s worth trying to find local alternatives to any items you’re thinking of having shipped. Even if at first glance it seems more expensive, you may find that when you eliminate the shipping, you reduce the price.
The better insulated your home, the more it will stand up to the elements and the less heating and cooling you’ll require. I prefer a stone wool insulation that protects against fire and noise as well.
Solar is a renewable energy source that can also save – and even make – you money. I had solar panels installed on my roof about a year ago and we’ve been generating enough electricity to sell back to the grid. So even though I don’t have a basement apartment, it’s still an income property!