We should all strive to create energy-efficient homes. On the one hand, you are reducing your carbon footprint to a minimum, and on the other hand, you are saving up more because eco-friendly solutions lower your utility bills. On paper, it is a win-win situation in every conceivable way. The only imaginable bump on the road might be the initial investment, but renovations are inevitable anyway. You might as well simply choose green. If an ambitious home-improvement project awaits, here are 7 practical tips for green remodeling of your home.
1. Start with an energy audit
If you have opted for green renovation strategies, you cannot simply begin the construction work before you have accrued necessary knowledge about the state of your home. For example, you should probably start your home-improvement project with an energy audit. Inefficient appliances, temperature leaks through weak spots such as doors and windows and malfunctioning AC system – these are all isolated factors that contribute to the sum total of energy waste your house makes every day, and the results are evident when the bill arrives at the end of the month. However, you might have gotten used to the size of these bills and you never even thought that the reason behind them is energy leakage. Many homeowners are caught completely by surprise after the audit.
2. Do a background check of your professionals
Before you hire a group of professionals for a green remodels, you have to do the background check first. If they are highly reputable, it doesn’t mean that they are experienced with green renovation techniques and handling of the eco-friendly materials. This means that you will have to invest extra time browsing through features, reviews, and testimonials. Sometimes, their mission statement will not spell it out. Pay attention to details such as whether they use sturdy mobile scaffolding instead of electrically powered cranes, what their method of transporting materials is and whether they use energy-efficient tools.
3. Don’t waste scrap material
If your green renovation project requires drastic feats – such as tearing down the walls and breaking the floors – you should make sure that none of the scrap material is wasted. This line of thinking will not only save you money, you will also end up with less collateral damage on your hands. Inspect the room that is about to be refurbished and see if something can be salvaged, reused or simply deconstructed. You can donate items that you do not need. The material you do not need can be donated to reclamation and recycling facilities.
4. Purchase reclaimed
While we are on the topic of reclamation, you should definitely purchase your materials from the same establishment that was the recipient of your contribution. You do not need the shiniest materials in order to get elements that look luxurious. In fact, reclaimed materials that have been processed look just as good as the new stuff, and they cost a fraction of the price. For example, you will never make a mistake if you purchase reclaimed wood, stone, and ceramics.
5. Shop locally
However, you might have very concrete reasons to use at least some brand-new materials. After all, you cannot salvage everything. In that case, see to it that you purchase new materials that are harvested and sold locally. For example, if you order a very specific type of wood just to indulge yourself, it might need to travel great distances to get to your home. This means that you will indirectly contribute to excessive carbon emissions due to the transportation of the said material.
6. Brighter rooms are eco-friendly
The essence of green remodeling does not lie in eco-friendly materials exclusively. Believe it or not, the style you choose can also impact the energy-saving efficiency of your home. For example, if you choose to expand your windows in order to bring more natural light in and paint your interior brighter colors, your home will be more eco-friendly. It’s a matter of pure and simple science: light reflects off the bright surfaces and makes the space even brighter. This means that you can wait longer before you switch on the lights. The time frame might be only slightly altered, but you would be amazed at the arithmetical difference this makes in the long run. Also, it goes without saying that natural light is much healthier for your eyes and your mood than LED lights.
If you want to do a large-scale green remodel, you should definitely consider insulation. In fact, insulation is the one project you should prioritize over all others, as most non-green homes are plagued by energy leaks. While there is some debate about what sort of insulation is the greenest, this is not something that should worry you too much. Instead, you should look at the painless options from a logistical perspective. For example, many people refuse to tear down walls as it can create chaos and render your house uninhabitable for a while, and they either choose to simply add a new external layer of insulation or insulate the weak spots – cellars, attics, and others.
Green home improvement is an investment that pays off in the long run. If you choose to reinforce your home in the right areas, you will not only render it more durable, but you will also turn it into a bastion for saving energy. Taking care of the environment is our responsibility, so we should do everything in our financial and practical power to alter our living conditions and lifestyle in order to contribute to the stabilization of the biosphere.