11 Ways to Minimize the Environmental Impact of Home Renovation Projects
Over the past couple of decades, environmentally-friendly construction has grown from a fringe movement to being the mainstream status. The major forces driving green building are market and client demands, but also state and local governments which are adopting regulations and proposing initiatives focused on sustainable housing. This is all happening because reducing energy and water usage have become the top humanity issues, and no one can look away now that these problems and years of reckless use of Earth’s resources have come back to haunt us. If you are planning a renovation project, you should know that it will impact not only your house and your community but also our planet. If you want to minimize that influence, here are some tips that could help you.
The trends that are paving the way for a better future
In the last couple of years, climate changes have affected everything, even the construction business, causing property owners to take a significant financial hit. According to Fema, every dollar invested in resiliency saves four dollars in recovery, which means that resources should be invested in constructing buildings that can withstand natural disasters. Furthermore, construction is leaving a huge amount of waste every year, so experts have finally found ways to recycle and use that waste for further projects. All of this is a part of a large-scale movement of building properties that reduce gas emissions, save water and rely on renewable energy. This movement refers to both private and commercial buildings.
How do private homeowners fit into the picture?
Each remodeling project, regardless of how large or small, leaves a trace on the planet. While commercial and public construction is responsible for most of that impact, homeowners need to join the fight as well. For example, if you are building your home from scratch, you should invest in sustainable materials, encourage minimal use of energy during the works, and, if possible, build tiny. If you don’t want to skimp on square footage, it would be useful to build upwards and take up less soil space. The trend of building upwards to go green is very popular in Australia, which makes reliable crane hire in Sydney and other Aussie cities a very in-demand service for even the tiniest renovation tasks. As for remodeling, the first things to think about are lowering your home’s energy use and preventing energy leaks. You’ll do that with insulation and energy-saving features, such as triple-glazed windows.
Specific things you can do to green up your remodeling
Sure, all of this is nice and well, but what exactly can you do to make your remodeling more sustainable and energy-efficient? Prepare to find out.
- Caulk, seal, and weatherstrip. Proper insulation puts focus on sealing up every potential point of heat and cooling loss so that the energy waste would be minimized, energy consumption lowered and energy savings maximized.
- Install energy-efficient windows. Low-e, multiple-glazed windows with vinyl or wood frames are among the best ways to reduce energy costs and improve your property’s energy-efficiency.
- Position the windows in a way that they receive the biggest amount of natural light possible and provide adequate ventilation by opening up your rooms.
- Get a whole-house fan to minimize the use of air-conditioner or completely eliminate the need for it.
- Install clerestory windows, solar tubes, light shelves, and skylights to minimize the use of artificial lighting.
- Switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED lights or compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Use structural insulated panels (SIPs) to drastically increase the energy efficiency of your property and reduce noise pollution.
- Go low flow in your bathroom. By installing a low-flow showerhead and faucet and a low-flush toilet, you can cut your water use by 60 percent.
- Get an Energy Star-rated HVAC system.
- Replace your old appliances with energy-efficient models, as the dated ones tend to require more energy to perform the most ordinary tasks.
- Use sustainable construction materials for both the interior and the exterior. Some of the excellent options are bamboo, cork, recycled plastic, reclaimed wood, sheep’s wool (e.g. for insulation), etc.
Your home may be a mere drop of water in the sea, but what else is the sea made of, if not billions of drops of water? If you can make your home renovation green, someone else can too, and this already makes a movement that can change things.
About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger, DIY enthusiast and sustainability buff from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and a contributor on several interior design and eco blogs, always on the lookout for new ideas and latest trends in the field.