Five eco-friendly ideas to renovate your home

The time has come to renovate your home – either because it has been ages since it was last done or that you need to rejuvenate it before selling the property. One of the factors to consider is making it eco-friendly and sustainable. As the Sittingbourne letting agents in South East England will agree, “green homes” are more popular and attract a higher price, too.  

As daunting as the renovation project could appear, an expert in building and construction reassures, “It might seem like an impossible mission, trying to renovate your home alongside trying to stay eco-friendly and sustainable, yet it definitely can be done.”

Here are a few eco-friendly ideas that can help – they are cost-effective too.

Paint:   Look for natural or non-toxic paints which will reduce air pollution. Traditional paints contain high VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) which are released into the air while painting and cause air pollution leading to health defects. While VOCs help preserves the paint, it is safer to opt for a VOC-free or low VOC level paint. Natural paint made from non-toxic pigments would be the best eco-friendly choice, but they are not as durable. 

Reclaimed materials:  The use of reclaimed materials such as wood and steel is an eco-friendly, cost-effective and time-saving option.  

  • Steel:   is the strongest recycled construction material. It provides more strength and less weight. It is easy to recycle and popular for environmentally friendly buildings.
  • Wood & Glass:  By saving trees, the number of harmful chemicals in the wood are also reduced. Recycled glass is another choice. Bio-glass is environmentally friendly and is strong, durable and flexible. It allows more natural lighting and is economical.
  • Flooring:  Reclaimed wooden boards, if installed correctly, do not warp. Cork is a natural, renewable eco-friendly material. It is naturally resistant to mould, mildew and termites besides being waterproof and wipeable. It is a good thermal insulator. It is soft and springy and hence comfortable to walk on. Scaffold boards are easy to obtain and also work well. Bamboo is another alternative. It is durable and resists moisture. It does not require pesticides when growing.

Energy conservation:  Reducing the carbon footprint is dependent on the conservation of energy. A home energy assessment can determine the areas where this can be done. Some tips are:

  • Smart features:  With technology, homes can be retrofitted with IoT (Internet of Things) features that are eco-friendly and sustainable. Smart power strips will assess the usage of electricity and automatically disable those not required.  
  • Solar panels: are one of the best methods of renewable energy. They remove dependence on the National Grid and often less energy is required. A solar battery can be used to store excess energy.
  • Bulbs:  Using LED bulbs in lighting fixtures saves a major portion of energy.
  • Insulation:  A high-quality insulating system is essential. It will reduce the carbon footprint, hold on to heat longer and reduce bills. Moreover, it will improve the energy efficiency of the property and result in a probable increase in value.
  • Low-flow plumbing:  To save water, toilets and bath equipment need to have low-flow plumbing systems.  
  • Energy-efficient appliances:  Dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens and washing machines that are eco-friendly will consume less energy and save on expenses.
  • Ventilation: Ensure there are enough windows to allow natural air and light in. Installation of a radon-venting system in the basement will reduce radon levels.
  • Reheating system:  Ground-source heat pumps are a natural resource for additional heating. Air source systems extract heat from the air and can be fitted on external walls or on roofs, making them easy to retrofit.
  • Rainwater harvesting:  This system can collect and store water in a tank after filtering debris and leaves. It can be cost-effective.

Refacing and Deconstruction:  Instead of replacing items, refacing can give a brand-new look which will save money as well. Repurposing materials and items save on the purchase of new ones. It also saves on natural resources by reducing emissions from the transportation and wastage of items. Some items to save from demolition could be flooring, doors, tiles, cabinets, light fixtures, bricks and moulding. Donating unwanted items to charities instead of throwing them out could help with the impact on the environment.

Purchase pre-owned items:  If there is a need for additional items, consider buying secondhand or antique items which are in good condition. They will give a new look to your home and be cost-effective too.

Conclusion:  In addition to making your renovated home comfortable and eco-friendly, there will be a likely increase in the property value, too. Quoting from NSRC, “Buyers are increasingly starting to see the benefits that eco-friendly homes offer, from lower running costs to a more sustainable and future proof way of living. Investing in an eco-friendly home now means you’ll be one step ahead for the future”. So perhaps it’s time to take that step!