You have a few home projects in mind, but you’re hesitant about their environmental impact. Like many people, you’ve recognized your role in protecting the planet, contributing to the greater good by making sustainable choices. That commitment is admirable, of course, but where do you get started?
You might think you have to go entirely solar and install a compost bin to make your renovations eco-friendly. However, anything you can do to reduce your home energy consumption will help the environment. Here’s how to get the most out of your next DIY project in a sustainable way.
1. Start With Windows and Doors
If you feel a draft when you sit next to your picture window, you may need to add some caulk — or replace your windows altogether. There are three primary types of replacement windows: sash kits, insert replacements and full-frame kits.
Sash kits give new moving parts to the glass, while the others replace the glass entirely. If you have older, single-pane windows, switching to a double-pane model can save you considerable energy.
Take a look at your entranceways, too, including your garage door. Many people mistakenly believe they don’t need to insulate their garages. But if you’re in the majority of homeowners, you probably enter your home from here pretty often.
Every time you do, it’s like opening the door to the outside if you’re not insulated. Plus, frigid temperatures can damage your vehicle and any other equipment you store there. Investing in an insulated garage door, as well as coating the interior, can increase your home’s comfort level substantially.
2. Choose Reclaimed Wood
If you tear up your linoleum and discover hardwood floors beneath, do you really want to cover them back up again with carpet or tile? Reclaimed wood can add substantial beauty and elegance to your home.
Additionally, it’s an eco-friendly choice. The cumulative energy used to harvest new lumber in comparison to the reclaimed variety is about 11 to 13 times greater.
The same goes for your kitchen cabinetry. Do you have to tear the old cabinets out entirely and replace them? Could you possibly sand them down and repaint them instead? When selecting a stain or paint, opt for those with the least amount of volatile organic compounds, substances that convert to vapors or gases. These impact your indoor air quality.
3. Make Use of Natural Light and Passive Solar
Do you have to hang heavy blackout curtains in every room? If you live in an urban area, you may wish to cut exterior light. However, if your home is in the suburbs, you can save considerable money on heating by taking advantage of passive solar whenever possible.
Clear large trees and bushes away from windows. This action provides a bonus in terms of safety. Thieves and other miscreants look for cover when they’re trying to break into your home.
Remove curtains or opt for thinner, gauzier models. You can also forego window coverings and install a film that lets you see out without allowing outsiders to view your home’s interior.
4. Upgrade Your Kitchen Appliances
Did you know that if your appliances are older, you could waste money and energy every time you use them? Since officials instituted the ENERGY STAR program, manufacturers design their wares with this rating system in mind.
Older dishwashers can use twice or more of the electricity and water of newer models. While new appliances can prove expensive, eventually, the investment pays for itself in the form of less expensive utility bills.
5. Opt for Eco-Friendly Flooring
You should save the floors for last when renovating. That way, you don’t accidentally chip them if you drop a hammer. You should select flooring that has low VOCs to improve your air quality.
Some choices, such as cork or bamboo, are friendlier to the planet overall. Manufacturers can harvest cork without destroying trees, and bamboo grows very quickly.
Make Your Next DIY Project More Eco-Friendly
Keep the health of the environment in mind during your next DIY project. As a bonus, you’ll save money on utilities and reclaim the value of your investment. That’s a win all around, both for yourself and for the planet.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about the outdoors, survivalism and similar topics on his site. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!