You might love the character and charm of your old home, and you feel cozy and content on cold winter nights. But does your house love the environment as much as you do? Old homes are rarely eco-friendly, and are full of features that allow air to escape, making your heating less efficient. If you are planning a remodeling project or renovations for your home this year, you should focus on saving energy, using recycled or recyclable materials, and saving energy. Read our tips below.
Use Reclaimed Materials
While a brand new kitchen looks great in a newly built home, if you have a cottage style house, you might want to use materials that fit in your overall decor. Instead of buying chipboard furniture, you can get real oak that can be upcycled to last longer, and create a unique look in your home. If you are any good at DIY, you can get some oak doors instead of the modern look designs, and use reclaimed wooden floor polished to your taste. You can save money and create a unique design at the same time.
Take Care of the Insulation
The first place you need to look for energy saving and environmentally friendly renovations opportunities is your windows, doors, and floors. If there is no insulation on your loft and under your flooring, it is time to get this sorted. Likewise, you might want to invest in new windows and doors if you constantly feel the cold air coming through the gaps. Look for cracks around the doors and windows, and fix them to insulate your home better. You will save money on your heating bills, and feel warmer without wasting energy.
Use Natural Light to Your Advantage
If you need to use the lights all day as your rooms are dark, you might need to think about a clever solution. A ceiling window can let the light in and make various parts of your house lighter. Use one in your dark corridors, and allow the natural light to illuminate your house. Replace bricks with glass blocks, especially over the doors, or cut out lighting windows to let natural light in every corner. Increase the size of your windows if you can, and if this doesn’t decrease your home’s energy efficiency. If you have a basement, find a way to let natural light in, such as installing glass blocks in your floor, or cutting out narrow windows. This way, you will not have to use that much electricity all year round.
Reduce Plastic and Non-recyclable Material Use
We often decide on a new item based on how they look, and not their lifespan and eco-friendliness. Next time you upgrade your kitchen, look for a kitchen sink retailer that has natural materials, such as granite and natural stone. Out with the moulded plastic and the ceramic, and in with something that will last for decades and doesn’t release harmful chemicals in the environment. Try to avoid faux leather seats and surfaces, and use either natural stone or real wood in your kitchen. They will look better and last longer as well.
Use Natural Floors
While linoleum is a cheap and aesthetic solution for basements and utility rooms, it doesn’t last as long as real wood and stone. Try to find an environmentally friendly solution to make your floors hard wearing and beautiful. Likewise, most carpets are not as green as you would think. Synthetic carpets are non-recyclable, and the carbon footprint of carpet manufacturing is huge. At the same time, most carpets are treated with different chemicals to make them stain resistant, which is great news for homemakers, but bad news for the environment. No matter what you do, a carpet will need to be replaced in a few years, and you will put extra pressure on the environment. Make sure that you find a flooring solution that has a low impact manufacturing process, and lasts long.
Check New Appliances’ Energy Rating
Once you have remodeled your kitchen, it might be time to choose your new appliances. Check the energy rating of each washing machine, oven, and dishwasher you purchase. You can save hundreds of dollars per year on running them everyday, and make your home greener. When you choose a refrigerator, check whether or not they have an ENERGYSTAR sticker on. This way, you can reduce your home’s carbon footprint, while saving money on energy bills. Look at each item you buy, including anything that has a heating element, such as dryers, washing machines, microwaves, ovens, toasters, and coffee makers. Small changes in your house make a huge difference for the environment.
Change Your Light Fittings
You will next have a look at all the electricity around your house and see if your lights are working efficiently. If you have an old fashioned ceramic light that takes a large bulb and doesn’t give out enough light, it might be time to switch your lights to Halogen or LED. They will perform much better, give out a brighter, more natural light, and help you save money at the same time. Don’t just think about your ceiling lights, but also your reading lamps in your study, as well as your bedside table lamps. An overhaul of all your electrical equipment can improve your home’s energy efficiency, and make your life more enjoyable. LED and Halogen lights also last longer than traditional ones, so you don’t have to change your bulbs as often as before.
Whenever you are thinking about renovation, make sure you improve your home’s energy efficiency at the same time. Changing your old refrigerator and oven is an important task, but you should also focus on which materials you are using. Look for flooring solutions that are environmentally friendly, and use naturally occurring stone and wood around your house. Always consider the carbon footprint of manufacturing your household item or furniture before buying, and try to reclaim items that can make your home look and perform better.