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May 24, 2021
Nothing can breathe life better into a new space than renovating it. The numbers showing how much construction and demolition materials we generate according to the latest report of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, though, reveal troubling results. In 2018 alone, 600 million tons of this waste were generated in the country. It is said to be more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste.
So does this mean that you should let go of your home dreams in favor of Mother Nature? Not at all. This simply entails that you should explore the eco-friendly tips we’ll be sharing below before you start planning and look at the options for personal loans for home improvement.
Work with what you have
The first thing that you should consider is to work with the things and materials you already have. You also want to work with your environment and not against it. For instance, one of our top backyard garden ideas is to work with plants that are endemic in the area. Not only will they be easier to maintain, but they will also contribute to the natural ecosystem.
You might want to know the reason behind the existing architectural or interior design of your home. Are other homes in the area designed similarly? Why? You don’t want to strip away essential design elements in your home just because of how they look. It might be wiser (and more eco-friendly) to work around them instead.
Finally, you don’t have to get everything redone brand new. You will find a lot of home renovation ideas online that seek to reface rather than replace existing components at home.
Be mindful of harmful materials
We acknowledge, though, that every renovation will still need the use of raw materials, despite our best efforts to minimize them. If that’s the case, then we highly recommend you to be on the lookout for harmful components such as formaldehyde (a toxic chemical usually found on wooden furniture) and VOC (or volatile organic compounds that are considered as airborne contaminants, typically found in paint).
Salvaged, reclaimed, pre-owned, organic
You want to use more environmentally-friendly materials instead of harmful ones. You can start with formaldehyde-free and VOC-free materials, but there are other “keywords” that you should familiarize yourself with. Salvaged, reclaimed, and pre-owned are terms used to refer to things that have been saved from previous home remodeling or demolition projects. These are, of course, secondhand items that can still easily be reused or refurbished. In fact, we may even enjoy using them more than new items as most of these items lend more visual interest and history to any home renovation project.
We favor organic materials as well, especially those known to work even better than conventional ones. For instance, bamboo is known to be durable, moisture-resistant, and sustainably sourced. It is flexible and looks exceptionally beautiful as well. It can be used to make kitchen cabinets, furniture pieces, and even smooth flooring. It’s one of our most favorite materials to work with.
Invest in quality
There are also home renovation projects that simply require brand new items and materials. It’s easily understandable why any homeowner’s first instinct is to opt for affordability. Unfortunately, budget-friendly doesn’t always equate to being eco-friendly. Instead, you want to invest in quality.
Don’t worry, most of these expenses are only costly upfront. Most of them will actually save you money in the long run. For instance, high-quality insulation can be quite expensive but can significantly help you save on utility bills. So does the installation of renewable energy systems, like solar panels and geothermal pumps.
Lastly, energy-efficient appliances are also more ideal. Most units will come with a star rating on their energy efficiency, ranging from one to six or ten stars depending on when the model was developed and how much energy it consumes per year according to kilowatt-hours. At the very least, you want your appliance to come with an Energy Star label. This means that the product has been certified to use less energy compared to the average or standard model.
Again, these criteria are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Now, most of the tips we have shared so far have focused on the renovation process itself. But what about the mark that your renovation project leaves in its wake? Will it contribute further to the statistics of waste accumulated each year?
It doesn’t have to be. We have two more tips that can help you complete your renovation on a high note:
Donate rather than dispose
Do you have old appliances, furniture, and other decorative elements that can still be used? Then don’t throw them away. There are a lot of organizations that are willing to take them off your hands. There are also online platforms that allow you to post your old things online so that people who need them can find them. You can even make some money along the way by selling them either through these platforms or by simply holding a garage sale.
Who knows? This might just be a good opportunity to declutter other areas of your home, even if you’re not really thinking of renovating them.
Deconstruct rather than demolish
Furniture and appliances are not the only things you can salvage. You can also do the same with raw materials but only if you deconstruct them properly. Again, you have three choices: you can reuse them in other rooms or keep them for future projects, donate them, or sell them.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can actually salvage with proper care and expertise. We’re talking about doors, cabinets, tiles, light fixtures, and more.
Don’t let your home renovation dreams ruin the environment. There are a lot of actionable steps that you can take in order to make your home more eco-friendly. We hope that the tips that we have shared with you above help in getting you started in that direction. Good luck!