Updating your home to suit your lifestyle and needs is an expensive, overwhelming process. When considering the environmental impact of home renovations, things seem even more complex.
Is it possible to make home renovations eco-friendly?
Yes, but there are limits. Parts of the renovation process must be done with new materials for safety, efficiency, and logistics, but other parts can be done with recycled materials. How can you utilize recycled materials while updating your home to get a beautiful layout that doesn’t cause unnecessary environmental damage?
- 1 // Mix Old Lighting Fixtures With Modern Efficiency
- 2 // Choose Recycled Flooring
- 3 // Think Creatively in the Kitchen
- 4 // Recycle Water and Food
- Moving Forward with Renovations
Take a look at some options and incorporate these into your plans.
1 // Mix Old Lighting Fixtures With Modern Efficiency
Utilizing old light fixtures in your designs is a great way to make your home eco-friendly while adding a unique, one-of-a-kind touch to any space. Wall sconces, chandeliers, lamps, outdoor lighting, and so much more are available everywhere in thrift shops and secondhand stores.
Using these recycled items in your home reduces the waste generated through home renovations, but there are also some drawbacks. Most modern homebuyers want to use eco-friendly lighting options for a variety of reasons:
1 / Reduce overall energy use
2 / Lower bills
3 / Regulate indoor temperature
How can you balance the needs of modern electric efficiency with old fixtures?
Thankfully, modern light bulbs and outlets have made it easy! When renovating with older fixtures, make sure that you wire for efficiency and choose light bulbs that utilize less energy and produce less heat. Energy-saving bulbs make a huge difference; be more eco-friendly by mixing reused lamps with new accessories.
2 // Choose Recycled Flooring
There are many eco-friendly flooring options, but not all of those options are made from recycled materials. These options often focus on preventing future environmental damage in the manufacturing and installation process rather than reusing existing materials.
Some flooring options created from recycled material combine eco-friendly manufacturing with recycled materials, and those are the best options when remodeling.
1 / Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood flooring is the best option when renovating. Whether you choose flooring that is freshly made from reclaimed wood or you find wood flooring taken out of another property, you are reducing waste by utilizing already existing materials.
2 / Tiles
Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas of your home may look wonderful with tile, and there’s a lot more deadstock tile out there than you think. Look for local construction recycling centers. They often sell overflow tile stock or leftover amounts from projects, and you can likely find enough that matches for your products without buying new materials.
3 / Metal or Rubber
Recycled rubber and metal floors are relatively new and may not suit every space. However, they are unique options that will really make a statement! Consider rooms like mud rooms, playrooms, garages, or other areas that don’t need the traditional, comfortable appearance. These can be a great way to add recycled materials to your home renovations.
4 / Carpet
Recycled carpet isn’t commonplace, but it isn’t unheard of either – for example, new owners of show homes may decide to swap out the existing carpet when they take the property owner, leaving large amounts of nearly-new carpet up for grabs.
If you do go with any second-hand carpeting, it could be as good as new with the right care. By following industry recommendations for carpet cleaning and care, the condition of carpets and rugs can be significantly improved, and their usable years extended.
Buy Local When Possible
No matter what type of flooring you decide on, another way to reduce the impact is to try to buy a local product already in stock. You can reduce your carbon footprint since fewer items will need to be shipped long distances.
3 // Think Creatively in the Kitchen
Your kitchen renovation will likely include modern, energy-efficient appliances, and that’s understandable. However, just because you want eco-friendly efficiency in your devices doesn’t mean that you cannot incorporate recycled materials in your plans.
There are many ways to upgrade without buying new materials in the kitchen. Here are some of the most common ways to utilize recycled materials:
- Acquire cabinets from overstock construction yards or secondhand home supply stores
- Build tables, cabinets, islands, and other structures from reclaimed wood
- Create unique countertops with recycled glass and cement
- Find one-of-a-kind recycled tiles from thrift and vintage stores for your backsplash
- Update old sinks and faucets for modern needs to utilize recycled material effectively
When it comes to kitchen decor and supplies, always check secondhand marketplaces and local shops before investing in anything new. People are constantly buying items they decide they do not need or selling like-new kitchen gadgets when moving. Utilize recycled materials in this way during your updates. In particular, there is rarely a reason to buy any of the following new:
- Mugs, plates, silverware, glassware, and other kitchenware
- Microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers
- Blenders, mixers
- Ice trays
- Storage containers
- Cooking utensils
- Lighting fixtures
- Pots, pans, trays
Those unfamiliar with buying secondhand may worry about cleanliness, but it’s easy to clean and sanitize all of these items. A little bit of elbow grease goes a long way when reducing your overall environmental impact.
4 // Recycle Water and Food
One of the most common reasons people say that they cannot recycle water, utilize rainwater or compost leftovers are their property’s functionality. If your property is not set up in a way that makes it easy to do these eco-friendly actions, it isn’t easy to find the momentum to get started.
While renovating your home, consider where you utilize recycled water and compost within your design. Landscape renovations that include rainwater harvesting enable garden and yard watering to be less expensive and more friendly towards the earth. Creating an environmentally-friendly landscape isn’t as hard as you imagine, provided you are set up for it.
Renovations that include smart composting options make it easier to recycle waste as well. From toilets with compost options to sinks with composting disposals, there are various ways to include recycled water and food material in your renovation plans. Don’t forget about this type of reuse when planning a remodel!
Moving Forward with Renovations
It’s possible to incorporate recycled and eco-friendly options into your renovation. Don’t get hung up on making everything from recycled materials. Remember that maintaining a modern standard of energy efficiency is also important. Consider where you’re willing to compromise to keep consumption and materials out of landfills and where it makes sense to install something new.
Consult with an engineer with accreditation in eco-friendly processes to ensure that your plans are forward-thinking while utilizing products of the past. Together, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!
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