Respect the Environment while you improve your home

A sustainable home renovation can range from upgrading windows and insulation to replacing the flooring with eco-friendly materials. The first tenet of green building is to conserve energy in every way you can: through the course of the renovation and in your daily living, the way your home uses and saves energy will determine just how sustainable your living space has become.

When renovating, you should use materials that have been recycled, re-purposed or harvested from a renewable resource, but a truly green living environment must take some other things into consideration. For instance, the energy and materials that go into recycling, production and shipping can negate the environmental concern that went into the product design, so you'll need to shop with some background knowledge and a careful eye.

Insightful Designs for a Greener Home

If you're making a few small upgrades, choose wisely when replacing each type of fixture, structure or decoration. Low-flow plumbing fixtures, no-VOC paint, recycled wood floor planks and tight fitting, low energy replacement windows are all better choices than their conventional counterparts. Whichever material you decide on, make sure to look a little deeper than the buzz words on the label: supporting harsh chemicals, extraneous packaging and companies that are merely riding the green building wave without living up to their manufacturing responsibilities will counteract your best intentions.

Is Wood a Wasteful or Prudent Choice?

If you're planning a big renovation like an addition or an overhaul of the interior, you'll probably need a good amount of wood. While new wood can be environmentally destructive, some wood is actually a very sustainable choice: products created from farmed wood are often more eco-friendly, as many of these companies will plant a tree for each one that they take from the ground. Alternatively, you can opt for a hardwood substitute like engineered wood, cork or bamboo that has been grown organically in order to reap the rewards of wood without the negative environmental effects.

Supporting environmentally-sound tree farming is a step in the right direction, but there is a more sustainable wood source available. Reclaimed wood is growing in popularity, and for good reason: not only is old wood durable, rustic and unique, but taking it from riverbeds, old barns and rediscovered furniture has virtually zero impact on new growth and the land around you. If you're having trouble finding the wood you need, why not visit a construction site where they will cast aside perfectly usable pieces, or else visit a farm and ask about any old barns or sheds that have been dismantled. A little searching can go a long way, so commit some time now to enjoy a greener home in the future.