7 simple ways to make your home renovation eco-friendly

December 9, 2014

When it comes to home improvements, going green is easier than you think. From "smart" skylights to rooftop gardens, here are seven simple ways to make your home renovation eco-friendly and save money in the process.

7 simple ways to make your home renovation eco-friendly

1. Go local

If you're planning a renovation, select locally-made materials wherever possible.

  • This also avoids the cost of transportation and saves significant carbon emission created during transport. It also helps local businesses.

2. Reuse what you have

If you have any material left over during the demolition process or from previous jobs, do not discard it.

  • See if you can use the drywall to patch any holes.

3. Collect what's already available

Whether in the city, suburbs or a rural area, collect the rainwater instead of turning on the hose.

  • Divert it for use on your garden or lawn if you'll be seeding or sodding.
  • It can be used for any mixing or cleaning needs during the renovation itself.

4. Plant a rooftop garden

For homeowners with a flat roof, the space can be transformed into a rooftop garden or green space to grow fruits and veggies.

  • Other benefits of a rooftop garden include improved interior air quality and temperature control, not to mention the aesthetically pleasing look of a beautiful garden filled with colourful, fragrant plants.

5. Pick efficient lighting

Installing skylights will lower the need for electrical lighting. It will also improve the home’s ventilation by having "smart" skylights with a sensor that will open the skylight automatically.

  • A simple way to save money that doesn’t require any electrical work is to switch your old incandescent light bulbs to more energy-efficient choices.

6. Install solar panels

More and more homes are being equipped with solar panels on their rooftops.

  • Many governments now offer homeowners financial incentives to install solar panels. They reduce the demand for electricity off the grid and are reliable.

7. Upgrade to better windows

Energy-efficient windows are widely available at your local home renovation store.

  • New windows, while somewhat costlier up front, will save you big money in the long run. What's more, installing them is a relatively easy way to slash energy consumption in a house. If you're considering replacing your windows, use a qualified installer.

Other options

Other options for going green include:

Install an ecological roof

  • It's not the same as a rooftop garden, because it usually covers the entire roof surface—whereas a rooftop garden covers only a specific, smaller area.
  • Ecological roofs are durable and require less maintenance. Moreover, they help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, which means energy savings for you.

Choose materials thoughtfully

  • If it’s time to replace your flooring, consider more environmentally-friendly products like bamboo flooring or cork instead.
  • Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree; bamboo grows fast, is plentiful, and looks beautiful.

Give "tankless" a try

  • If you are thinking of replacing an old water heater, consider a tankless water system or an on-demand device that only heats water when needed. There are countless newer heating devices on the market that perform in such a way and help you save money in the long run. Taking shorter showers, too, also helps save money and energy.

Going green in the home is both cost-effective and of benefit to the environment. It’s a win-win.

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