Have you bought a new property that requires some work, or are you planning to renovate your existing home? If the answer to either question is yes, and you want to make your alterations as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible, there are a number of things you can do to ensure an eco-friendly home.
Read on for our top tips on how to make your renovations – and your property – as green as can be.
Use Reclaimed Building Materials
We all know that, to help protect our planet, we should ‘reduce, reuse, recycle. This doesn’t just refer to our yogurt pots and jam jars, but can also include the materials we use to build and renovate our homes.
Using reclaimed building materials is a highly effective way to reduce our impact on the environment, and you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding the right materials to suit your property. Local properties that have been demolished are an easy source of reclaimed materials, and be sure to ask friends or neighbors who are having their homes remodeled if you can salvage their unwanted materials.
You can also take trips to nearby salvage yards and look for materials that will blend nicely with your property. You can find all kinds of gems in these yards, including heritage building materials that can add timeless elegance to any property, such as stonework, timber framework, period bricks, and clay.
Look Into Sustainable Heating
If you are keen to protect the environment and heat your home as naturally as possible, there are several options for you to look into.
Installing solar panels is one idea, allowing you to harness the sun’s rays to help power your home and lower your energy bills. You could even make some additional money by selling any unused power back to the grid. However, not all properties are suitable for solar panels, so it’s worth getting your home assessed before you go ahead.
Another renewable heating option is a ground-source heat pump. Buried underground, these pumps use the constant warmth from below the surface of the earth to generate heating for your home.
Of course, if you’re not keen on digging up your garden to install one, then air-source pumps are also available. Working on the same principle, albeit using air, these pumps can be installed on the outside of your home or can potentially even be placed within the roof space.
Protect Your Trees
Trees are vital for maintaining the health of our planet. Not only do they produce oxygen, store carbon, and provide essential habitats for all kinds of creatures, but they are also good for our physical and emotional well-being.
If you are planning to extend your property, or undergo some building work in your garden – perhaps installing a summerhouse, a new shed, a pond or a pool – and there is a clump of trees in the way, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. On the one hand, you want to upgrade your home; on the other hand, you don’t want to cause any damage to the flora and fauna that share your property. You also don’t want to fall afoul of the law if any of the trees on your property have been afforded special protection.
In this case, you should conduct a tree survey, particularly if the work you are hoping to do will require planning permission. Tree surveys assess various aspects, including whether any trees may be dangerous and require removal, as well as whether or not development can occur without causing any harm to surrounding trees, both above and below ground.
Trees can be categorized according to how important they are to the local environment. For example, category U trees are usually either dying or already dead and are not considered a problem when it comes to development. On the other end of the spectrum, category A trees are deemed essential, whether for environmental, historical, or cultural reasons, and you will probably have to keep your renovations a certain distance from these trees.
The recent drought and hose pipe bans the UK has experienced have taught us all how precious our water is, and how easily it can disappear.
As a result, you may be keen to start recycling your water so you will hopefully always have enough available to flush your toilets, wash your clothes, shower with, and water your precious plants.
Fortunately, recycling rainwater is delightfully simple. All you need to do is install a harvesting system that allows you to catch the water in a drainpipe and funnel it into a sizeable storage tank.
At the same time, you can opt to make your home more sustainable when it comes to your water usage. Low-flow showerheads use a lot less water compared to other kinds, while eco-friendly toilets help save water with every flush.
Choose Natural Interiors
As well as using reclaimed materials for your building’s exterior, you can also make your home even more environmentally friendly by using natural materials for the interiors. Not only are they greener, but natural materials can help to create a healthier home, as they provide breathable and flexible surfaces devoid of any unpleasant chemicals.
Some of the materials you can consider using for your interiors include wood, cork, rubber, or marmoleum.
Opt For Environmentally Friendly Finishing Touches
If you are nearing the final stages of building or renovating your property, it’s time to start sourcing those all-important finishes, from paints and wallpapers to waxes and varnish. Fortunately, these days it is easier than ever to find eco-friendly versions of all of these products, created using natural substances with no need for chemical nasties.
For example, you can now find ranges of ‘green’ paints featuring an assortment of appealing shades that have been made using plant-based dyes. On the other hand, if you would like to paper your walls rather than paint them, you can easily source eco-friendly wallpapers made out of hessian or wool, to produce an attractive and all-natural finish for your walls.
As you can see, every single element of your building work or renovations can be achieved using environmentally friendly and sustainable methods that will result in a home you can be proud of – for more reasons than one.