Restoration projects have seen a rise in popularity over the last few years. It’s largely due to home renovation shows, Pinterest boards, and even people’s underlying desire to reuse old items and turn them into something new.
Many restoration projects focus on bringing an existing space back to life to “relive” its glory. When you look deeper though, making home upgrades and major changes can often take resources that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly.
Sustainability has become more than just a buzzword. According to Southern Cross University, nearly 77% of Americans want to live more sustainably. If you think a home restoration project and sustainability can’t go hand-in-hand, think again.
Whether you’re building a home from the ground up, restoring an old house, or just making small home upgrades, there are plenty of ways to make your project as sustainable as possible. The process itself can be a green endeavor, and you can end up with a home that is better for the planet and better for the future, too.
Work with Your Contractor
One of the easiest ways to change the look and feel of a room is to paint it
If you’re completely renovating or remodeling an old home, you’re probably working with a contractor or construction crew. One of the best ways to make sure the whole operation is sustainable is to talk to them. Better yet, do your research ahead of time to seek out any contractors in your area who specialize in sustainable practices. Because there’s a greater demand for it, some contractors are starting to make their sustainability efforts more widely known.
By talking with the people working on your home, you can discuss green living ideas that they can include in their construction, including:
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Different energy sources
- Environmentally-friendly insulation
- Sustainable building products
If you have a company working on your landscaping as well, make sure they use native plants whenever possible and plant trees that offer shade to keep your house cool during warmer months.
Even if you’re just getting certain areas of your home remodeled, the people working for you can make sustainable improvements. That could include anything from sealing windows and doors to tightening up leaky faucets so they’re not wasting water or causing water damage.
Some restorations start with deep cleaning, so you can even choose to work with companies that use sustainable cleaning practices and eco-friendly products. Green cleaning companies tend to focus on products with lower toxin levels and biodegradable cleaning agents.
Use Eco-Friendly Products
Even better, if you want to be in charge of the restoration project yourself and add DIY aspects to your house, you can pick and choose the environmentally friendly products you want. You’re in charge of the items you use to remodel, so take the time to do your research on items that are better for the planet.
It’s easier to utilize eco-friendly products than you might think. With sustainability demands on the rise, more companies are starting to take a look at their existing products and offer alternatives.
One of the easiest ways to change the look and feel of a room is to paint it. Unfortunately, most traditional paints contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can be damaging to the environment. These are often referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Not only can they harm the planet, but they can cause headaches and respiratory issues.
Using eco-friendly paint is a fantastic way to combat that issue. Eco-friendly paint options include:
- Milk paint
- Chalk paint
- Ceramic paint
- Linseed oil paint
- Low/Zero VOC paint
Because there are so many options to choose from, it’s easy to find a color and finish that will work for almost any room. If you’re going for a rustic or “shabby chic” look, some eco-friendly paints go perfectly with that style, so you can make a smart, sustainable, and stylish choice that fits your needs.
You can also choose eco-friendly products for larger restoration projects. For example, choosing hardwood flooring over carpet is often a more sustainable choice because it lasts longer and is typically made from more sustainable materials. Carpet typically needs to be replaced every few years, while hardwood can be restored and refinished.
Looking to redo your countertops? Consider natural stones like granite for an environmentally friendly and gorgeous choice. There are countless ways to choose the right products for a better future, and it typically only takes a little bit of research. You don’t have to compromise on how great your home will look by choosing sustainable items over more traditional ones.
Focus on Both Small and Targeted Upgrades
No matter what type of restoration project you’re planning for, you don’t have to go over budget. There are major steps you can take toward sustainability. Some people go into restoration projects specifically for sustainability purposes. They tend to focus on targeted upgrades. Some large-scale improvement projects that will reduce your home’s carbon footprint include things like installing solar panels, upgrading your insulation, or getting a new hot water system throughout the home. These are projects that typically require a professional to complete, and they can end up costing thousands of dollars. But, they can also save you money in the long run. They’re all worthwhile investments if you have the time and money to do so.
Targeted upgrades specifically dedicated to sustainability are great – especially if you want to boost the value of your home.
But, if you’re working with a smaller budget or you don’t want to dedicate a ton of time to upgrades and restorations, there are still plenty of “green” things you can do. Some of the simplest actions you can take include:
- Adjusting your hot water system and air conditioning unit
- Sealing gaps around doors and windows
- Hanging curtains to prevent heat from escaping
- Installing ceiling fans
No matter how big or small your restoration project is, it’s never a bad idea to make sustainability a priority. With a few swaps, a little bit of planning, and by working with the right people, your project can be as sustainable as possible. It’s amazing to be able to bring an old, outdated property to life again, and introduce it to a brighter future – in more ways than one!
About Luke Armstrong
Expert in emergency fire and Hutto water restoration services, fire cleanup and Hutto water damage cleanup, mold removal, as well as carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Contributor to several restoration and cleaning blogs.