What makes a remodeling project eco-friendly? There’s no set list of criteria that will make a home remodel eco-friendly, but there are a number of ways to approach the process and the finished product with eco-friendliness in mind. An eco-friendly remodel will make the home more sustainable—decrease the size of its carbon footprint—but the way it’s done can also be responsible and with minimal impact to the environment
There are three main things to keep in mind as you plan a remodel with green intentions: materials, resource consumption, and design sustainability. These three elements work together to create a sustainable, eco-friendly remodeling project.
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A green remodel should try to use as many eco-friendly products as possible. Choose long-lasting and toxin-free materials that are sustainably produced, found, or recycled.
- Fabrication: The way a product is produced is where its sustainability starts. Look for products made from renewable materials that were sustainably harvested or manufactured. Choose local or regional manufacturers that use renewable energy for production and don’t require long shipping distances.
- Longevity. A sustainable product has superior quality and construction that will help it last for a long time. Products are also more sustainable when they can be repaired instead of replaced when they malfunction. Choose easily repairable products for which replacement parts will be available for years to come.
- Toxin-free materials. Choose products with low-VOC finishes that won’t off-gas once they’re installed in your home. Low-maintenance products that don’t need regular refinishing or resealing are easier to take care of and don’t require the application of chemical products for maintenance.
- Long-term sustainability. An eco-friendly material can help make the entire home more sustainable. A material like a dual-flushing toilet becomes a permanent fixture in the home that saves water on a daily basis for years to come.
A remodel is an opportunity to implement features that lower a home’s resource consumption and monthly and long-term operating costs. Before you remodel, think about how you can implement materials, features, and designs that save resources in one or more of the following areas.
- Lighting: Add natural light with a window, skylight, or solar tube. Switch to dimmable LED fixtures and add task lighting in high-use rooms to reduce energy consumption.
- Water. Switch to low-flow fixtures and replace outdated appliances with water-saving models. Consider systems that collect rainwater or filter and reuse household water. Install drip irrigation in landscaping. Replace water heaters with tankless units.
- Heating/cooling. Can you convert your HVAC to a system that consumes fewer resources by installing a heat pump or ductless units?
A sustainable design is a universal one that appeals to a wide range of users in both style and use. Universal designs are less likely to need future remodeling because they lean toward established conventions rather than passing trends. An eco-friendly remodel is one that chooses long-lasting, universally appealing designs that will save on future resources by requiring little to no alterations down the road.
Keep these three elements in mind during your next home remodel, and hire a contractor that’s committed to sustainability like Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel. This is a great opportunity to do our part to reverse the impact modern living has on the environment while keeping construction on the forefront of progress and innovation.