How To Renovate Your Home For Sustainability

The growing inclination towards sustainability is changing the mindset of homeowners today, which has naturally led to many revisiting their hot water systems and even replacing kitchen appliances for greener alternatives. Interior designers have stated that mid 2022 may just be the perfect time to take these steps towards a healthier lifestyle, as prices are set to drop on modern household amenities across the board, and consumers will be able to boost the savings they will already be able to experience over the years to come.

Most importantly, sustainable homes naturally all have a minimal carbon footprint. It means that you have the satisfaction of doing your bit for the planet by going eco-friendly. Before you embark on this rewarding journey, you need to understand the basics of building a sustainable living space. It’s also important to understand how certain DIY home upgrades like this can increase the value and desirability of your home when moving to sell.

As a new homeowner, you can start from scratch at the building stage. It includes using the right construction material, opting for apt design, and installing eco-friendly add-ons. Or perhaps you’re still searching for the right property. Luckily, developers worldwide recognise the demand for sustainable living and are implementing eco-friendly designs as part of an eco-living concept. For example, RWinvest, a UK-based property company, will not only help you to find the best place to invest in property in the UK but offers the North West’s first eco-development, incorporating sophisticated low-carbon smart technology to focus on sustainability.​ But what if you want to go sustainable with your existing property? Is it possible to achieve eco-consciousness goals without spending a fortune? The good news is that it is absolutely doable, provided you have the roadmap and vision to move ahead. Here are some measures you can implement to renovate your home for sustainability.

Start with a declutter project

Minimalism is the mainstay of a sustainable lifestyle, so make sure you own only what you need. Even before you renovate or replace the bathtub, you must start with a declutter project. It will take only a couple of days to assess the current belongings and segregate redundant stuff. You may have unknowingly stocked up unwanted items, making the place look small and cramped. It could even force you to consider moving to a bigger place. The best approach is to embrace minimalism by reducing clutter from the existing home. Even better, donate stuff so that someone gets to use it. Moreover, it is better than dumping as you do not create pressure on landfills. Once you have less clutter and more space, you can get started with renovation planning.

Refurbish the flooring with reclaimed wood

Flooring is probably on top of the renovation checklist for most homeowners. Since flooring bears traffic all day, it tends to wear over time and requires replacement after every few years. Get eco-friendly this time by using reclaimed wooden boards to refurbish your home’s flooring. These boards are durable and last for years if installed correctly. You can opt for scaffold boards as they are easy to source and install. Cork is another sustainable alternative for residential flooring. It is renewable because the same tree can yield supply for hundreds of years. The material is soft and springy and has thermal and acoustic properties. It works well for homeowners because it is waterproof and wipeable.

Refresh the walls with VOC-free paints

After a flooring rework, you can also refresh the walls with a fresh coat of paint and matching curtains. Most homeowners consider trending colors and textures when it comes to redoing the walls of their living space. But using VOC-free paint should be on top of your mind if you want the project to align with sustainability goals. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful to the environment and your family. The chemical ingredients in these paints evaporate and dissolve in the air as the paint dries. You can switch to VOC-free paint to make your loved ones breathe easier and be healthier. Start with the kids’ room and repaint the entire house to make it safe and healthy.

Avoid chemical-laced products

Ask for chemical-free products if you plan a DIY renovation for your living space. Alternatively, collaborating with a seasoned contractor is a good idea. They can help you choose the right products and techniques for your project. Discuss your expectations clearly and ensure that the contractor shares your mindset. Most products in the industry have chemicals. From building materials to those used for washing brushes and removing overspill, everything has chemicals. They can harm your skin and health, so steering clear of them is crucial. Like non-VOC paints, there are healthier alternatives in the market. But you need to have your facts right to stick with these products.

Switch to solar

When you have sustainability on top of your mind, solar installation is the best investment you can make for your living space. It offers clean, renewable energy to power up your home. Going solar enables you to do away with grid electricity for good. You can collaborate with a specialist Roofing Contractor for the installation of solar panels on your home’s roof. These experts will assess your requirements and have the best solution in place. While solar installation may cost a bit up front, you end up saving on energy bills in the long run. These savings will offset the cost of installation sooner than you imagine. Additionally, you get state subsidies for adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Not to mention, you have peace of mind about doing your bit for the environment.

Invest in green exteriors

Apart from sustainable roofing, you can go the extra mile with green exteriors. Using eco-friendly paint for the exterior gives you a good start. You can look for options made with plant oils and resins rather than chemicals. Get a step ahead with a green roof covered with vegetation if you do not have a garden space in the backyard. You can opt for a green roof even when there is a thriving garden in your home. All you need to do is have basic gardening skills and time to look after your plants. Fortunately, green roofs are as easy to integrate into renovation projects as in new constructions. You can have it even with solar installation on the roof. It adds to the curb appeal of your living space and keeps the interiors cool. Your HVAC system has to work less to keep temperatures in control.

Save water with low-flow devices

Sustainable renovation also includes switching to low-flow devices to save water usage in your home. Your kitchen is the best place to start because you use a lot of water here every day. Toilets come next on the list because you can well imagine the amount of water that runs into flushes every day. Switch to a water-efficient and low-flow plumbing system, and you can save gallons of water in the kitchen and bathrooms. Consider a dual-flush system as it uses less water to flush liquid waste and more for solid waste. You can use it selectively and cut down usage to a significant extent. Check the shower and sinks and move to better options that reduce the wastage of water. Cultivate a habit of saving water every day in the smallest ways possible.

Choose energy-efficient appliances

Using renewable energy to make a sustainable home gives you a great start. But you can encourage energy savings at smaller levels too. Replace the existing appliances with energy-efficient ones. LED lighting does not burden your wallet and cuts down the domestic energy bills significantly. They even last for decades, and you will have to spend rarely on a replacement. You can start small, changing room by room until the entire house has new lighting. Move to bigger appliances such as freezers, refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines. The revamp may take some investment, but you will soon save up enough to cover the investment. Check the star rating of every appliance you buy for your home. You may seek expert advice if you don’t know enough about energy-efficient appliances.

Install high-quality insulation

Home heating and cooling are the most significant sources of energy usage for a property. Fortunately, you can cut down the footprint of your house by installing high-quality insulation to maintain optimal temperatures indoors. Poor insulation is the last thing you need if you are a sustainability advocate. It can get you in trouble when outdoor temperatures go extreme during summer or winter. Your heating and cooling costs can topple the household budget, and the place will be uncomfortable too. It makes sense to renovate your roof’s insulation to ensure low carbon footprint and energy savings. Your home will be cool in summer and cozy in winter.

Reface, not replace

You can renovate your home and give it a brand-new look and feel without destroying or replacing things. These are the biggest concerns for eco-conscious homeowners because destruction and replacement result in the wastage of materials. Try refacing your living space because it refreshes the look without disposing of things and spending money on new stuff. Consider repurposing old items, like painting the furniture or changing the arrangement of the rooms. It is much better than making unnecessary purchases for upgrades. You can do your bit to reduce emissions from the production and transportation of these materials. You will be happy with the decision eventually because it is lighter on your budget as well.

Sustainable renovation requires the right choices and creative thinking, but the effort is worthwhile. The best thing is that you even get to save money on the renovation project by choosing the eco-friendly way of doing things. You need not do much work to follow the right path. Just follow these steps, and you can get a step closer to an eco-friendly lifestyle that makes your home a happy and healthy space.

Elise Wu

Elise Wu, an alumna of Yale University with a degree in Environmental Policy, has spent more than two decades advocating for environmental protection and sustainable resource management. Before joining our website in 2019, she worked with various NGOs and governmental bodies, playing a key role in developing eco-friendly policies. Besides her professional pursuits, Elise is also a passionate hiker and loves nature photographer, often exploring the untamed wilderness to reconnect with the environment she tirelessly works to preserve.

Leave a Comment