Eco-conscience has become an increasingly important topic in the world. It has moved from the panel discussions to everyday life of ordinary people.
More and more people are trying to adapt their lives to the demands of eco-friendliness. If you want to join the cause, there is no better place to start than with your own home.
Remodeling your house in a way that will make it environmentally safe, is an investment, not only in your family’s future and well-being, but also in the future of this planet. This sounds as a major undertaking, but if you stick around, we’ll show you how do it the right way.
Use reclaimed wood
New things don’t necessarily shine the brightest. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled with claims that new items are always better and more long-lasting.
Reclaimed wood is a great way to add a bit of style to your home, without hurting the environment. The time, money and energy that would otherwise be invested in the production of a new material will be saved. Reclaimed wood is a great material for flooring, walls, counter-tops and other home renovation projects.
Use bamboo for flooring
Bamboo is quite similar to hardwood. It is equally durable and resistant to moisture. Since bamboo grows back significantly faster than wood, it can be harvested without the hazard of disturbing the plant’s root system. And when it comes to aesthetics, bamboo can have very appealing colour, which will elevate the style of your home.
Insulate your home
Choosing high-quality insulation will protect your home from the elements. The space will be warmer during the winter and cooler in the summer. The roof, ceilings, walls and floors should be a barrier that stops energy from leaving your house.
With proper insulation, you save a significant amount of energy (and money) on heating or cooling your house. Besides the energy savings, there is also the added benefit of mold prevention and improved indoor air quality.
Prevent moisture and mold
The basics of mold prevention revolve around moisture prevention. The best way to prevent mold from ever growing in your home is to ensure proper insulation and moisture control. This means checking all water fixtures and pipes for leaks. If you are already facing a mold problem, you should first identify and address the source of the moisture, then clean up the mold using natural cleaning products.
Repurpose, recycle and remove
When you start renovating your home, you’ll find plenty of unnecessary things that you should give away to charity or sell. The things that you think are worth keeping can be repurposed and refreshed, with a new coat of paint or just a bit of cutting and manual work. You can also find various pieces of furniture or accessories in flea markets and repurpose them.
Let the light in
Having a sufficient amount of natural light in your home will not only add up to energy savings, but it will also have many positive effects on your health. Sunlight can improve your mood and provide you with much needed vitamin D.
If you can, make sure that you have at least one window in every room. Double-glazed windows are a good option if you want to be completely green. They will reduce the amount of energy lost through the glass.
Sometimes, sunlight simply doesn’t cut it. You have to use artificial light in your house. However, when installing the lighting, you should still think green. Using incandescent light bulbs means spending more money on electricity and frequent light bulb replacement, and thus more energy. More energy efficient options would be switching to LED lighting or CFL light bulbs. Installing motion-sensing fixtures will prevent the light from staying on if you forget to turn it off, which is one of the common ways energy is lost (or wasted).
Use eco-friendly paints
There can simply be no house renovation project without at least a little bit of painting. Traditional paints are full of toxic chemicals that can be damaging to your health and to the environment. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), the ingredient of old-school paints, is non-recyclable. Choose the paints with less or, if possible, no VOCs at all.
Luckily, these days, there are a variety of alternatives: water-based, earth-friendly paints that are biodegradable.
Make nature work for you
There are some ways to use nature’s gifts in your favour. Installing a solar array (solar panels) will reduce pollution and reduce your expenses.
A solar water heater will use the sun’s warmth as one more way to cut down energy costs. Small wind generators can produce enough power to cut down your electricity costs by 10 to 15 percent. Rain collector systems will collect and store rain water for non-potable uses like watering plants, irrigation and flushing toilets.
Opting for low-flow toilets and shower heads will reduce the amount of water your household is using and thus promote water conservation and energy efficiency. Today’s low-flow toilets are made in a way to use only 1.6 of water per flush. Buying low-flow fixtures and water-efficient appliances can seem like a big investment, but, in the long-term, it will pay off.
We wish you a green and healthy home!
This article was written by Zoe Clark. Zoe is an environmentalist, home decorator and DIY enthusiast from a land down under. You can follow her on Twitter.