How To Make Even Smaller Home Renovations More Sustainable
When you think of sustainable home renovations, you might imagine big changes like installing solar panels on your roof or replacing your furnace with a geothermal heat pump. Surely, these chances are sustainable. But they are also big changes! If they seem too big or too expensive for you, then you don't have to feel bad. There are plenty of ways to make even smaller home renovations more sustainable.
Choose low or no-VOC paints and finishes.
If you plan on painting your home, refinishing some cabinets, or even re-staining your hardwood floor, pay close attention to the finishing products you choose. Many paints and stains release a lot of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are not good for the atmosphere. Some contribute to climate change, and others are bad for wildlife and plants. So, when you are looking for a finish or paint to use in your remodeling project, focus on those labeled "low-VOC" or "no-VOC." Companies have been introducing these left and right, so you should have plenty of options.
Keep what you can.
Whether you're remodeling a bathroom, a bedroom, or your kitchen, consider keeping some of the current materials instead of replacing everything. If the cabinets are in good shape, for example, keep them rather than replacing them. If the flooring still looks okay, consider refinishing it rather than ripping it out. The less you replace, the less waste you create — and reducing waste is better for the planet.
Choose durable materials.
When you choose materials for your remodel, make sure you choose materials that will last. This might cost you a little more up front, but it will pay off in the long run since you won't need to replace things so soon. Longer-lasting materials create less waste overall and are therefore more sustainable. Here are some good examples:
- Choose stone tile over flimsy, vinyl tile.
- Choose granite or stone counters over laminate ones.
- Choose wood cabinets over particle board ones.
If you're not sure how certain materials compare in terms of lifespan, talk to your remodeling contractor. They can let you know how long various materials have lasted for other customers.
By keeping sustainability in the forefront, you can make remodeling choices that are better for the planet. Most remodeling contractors are more than happy to help you make these sustainable choices, so ask them to weigh in. They may have some suggestions that are not on this list, too. Contact a company that offers sustainable home renovations to learn more.