If you’re at a point in your life where you’re ready to take on a home renovation, you may have a few goals. Along with making your home look and function the way that you want it to, you might also want to create a home that’s less toxic, and more eco-friendly. Even if you’re just doing a small-scale renovation, it’s possible to do things that are going to make your home healthier for yourself and your family as well as the environment.
The following are some of the trends and projects to consider if your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint and the toxicity levels in your home.
Water Filtration Systems
There are so many different options for water filtration systems, including whole-house water filtration. For example, one option you might think about is whole-house reverse osmosis. This is often used in rural homes when groundwater may be contaminated. Some people also opt for whole-house water filtration systems because they want to remove fluoride, which is in municipal water. A whole-house water system can take away chemicals that are leftover from municipal water systems that can not only be damaging to your health and your family’s health but even your pipes and appliances. Along with considering a water filtration system, you should also make sure you choose water fixtures that are efficient, like low-flow faucets. You can reduce your sink’s water flow by 30% or more in many cases, and if everyone used similar faucets, we could save billions of gallons of water each year in the U.S.
Work with Local Suppliers
If you’re going to be doing a home renovation, no matter the scale, you should try to find local sources for as many items as you can. For example, maybe you find a local craftsman who builds cabinets and furniture. They most often use natural and simple materials such as solid wood and finishes that have no VOCs. If you go with mass-produced items, you’re likely to be exposing your family to toxins. A lot of people think they can’t afford handmade items for their home, but you may be surprised by how flexible many craftspeople are on pricing.
When considering cabinets, most that are mass-produced can have carcinogens like formaldehyde, so if you do go with manufactured options, try to look for eco-friendly materials such as bamboo. In addition to cabinets and furnishings, other materials that you should focus on during an eco-friendly renovation include the paints you use and things like caulks and sealants. Flooring can also be a source of toxins, such as formaldehyde adhesives.
Using solar power is one of the most foundational changes you can make to your home to be greener and more eco-friendly. When you use solar to power your home, you’ll find that your electric bills go down substantially as well. A solar power system doesn’t have to as costly as you might think, and some people are even able to do it themselves.
Work with Professionals Who Understand Eco-Friendly Design and Materials
Unless you’re going to be doing the work entirely on your own, when you’re hiring a contractor or subcontractors, look for professionals who understand and are experienced in eco-friendly design. For example, look for builders who are LEED accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council if possible. Green building pros can help you not only with aspects of design but also in sourcing eco-friendly materials.
Staying on Budget
If you’re planning a renovation and your budget is tight, you might be concerned that you don’t have enough money to cover sustainable materials, but that’s not necessarily true. Reclaimed materials are as sustainable as you can get, and you can often find them for less than you would pay for new items. You may also be able to get creative and salvage what you have. Finally, before you start a home renovation, you should always do your research but this is especially true if you want to be eco-friendly.
You want to learn about materials and systems, and that will help you create your goals so you can better articulate them to contractors or subcontractors along the way. You can also take tours of green homes, and even refer to your state or local government to see what their advice is if you want to be greener in your home design. You can learn about the philosophies behind green building and renovation principles and better prioritize your project.