Let’s talk sustainability. More and more property buyers want sustainable — giving thanks to a mixture of rising fuel costs and a greater awareness of how our homes own impact on the environment. So, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, making changes in your own home is a pretty good place to start. Take a look at some of our favorite eco-friendly supplies, materials, upgrades and renovation techniques to create an energy efficient and sustainable living space.
1. Find An Eco-Expert Designer – Naturally, this is our first suggestion. Having a designer and contractor who is consciously aware of eco-friendly renovations is going to save you both money and time.
2. Choose Eco-Friendly Materials – Such As:
- Paper-Based Countertops - Made of tree pulp taken from strictly managed sustainable forests, paper-based countertops are a great alternative to stone and plastic surfaces. They come in a variety of colors and are mostly stain-, scratch- and heat-resistant.
- Photo Credit: Richlite
- Bamboo Plywood - Bamboo is a sustainable wood because it grows rapidly and reaches maturity in just four years. The plywood is laminated together using a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesive. Bamboo is great for bathrooms because it stands up well in a moist climate.
- Synthetic Grass - Eco-friendly synthetic grass requires no water, no mowing and stays green for years.
- Recycled Glass Countertops - Windshields, stemware and beverage bottles are bound together with concrete and fly ash (a waste by-product of coal-burning power plants) as opposed to a petroleum-based resin binder. The countertops are comparable to granite in terms of strength, scratch resistance, heat resistance and maintenance.
3. Get New Windows – Old, drafty windows result in a loss of 25 to 30 percent of your home’s heating and cooling energy. The upgrade will make your home more energy efficient, saving between $30 and $465 each year. Not only will you save money on utility costs, but you’ll lower your carbon footprint.
4. Upgrade Your Appliances – Appliances made before the early 1990s use much more energy and water than models manufactured today. For example, front-loading washing machines use half the water of a traditional top-loader. An Energy Star-rated refrigerator will save $270 in utility costs over five years. You can also expect an income-tax credit by installing Energy Star appliances.
5. Upgrade Your HVAC Systems – When planning a green renovation, you can’t beat replacing your old furnace or boiler with a new ENERGY STAR-rated model. High-tech, geothermal heat pumps are another option to save energy. Also, replace that old air conditioning unit too; reducing energy use between 20% to 50%.
6. Go Tankless With Your Water Heater – What is a tankless water heater? It’s a water heater that heats or cools water on demand, as you need it – rather than storing a bunch of water and keeping it hot all the time. They last much longer than a traditional water heater with a tank – upwards of 20 years – and take up much less space.
- Photo credit: Popular Mechanics
7. Choose Energy Efficient Lighting – Natural lighting is clearly the most efficient lighting available, as well as the most appealing. If you can, make use of a skylights or daylighting systems to bring in natural warmth into your space. As for bulbs, make sure to choose LEDs over traditional incandescent lights.
8. Use VOC-Free Paints, Finishes, and Coatings – Turns out that “new paint smell” a good thing. These harmful vapors are still released long after the paint has dried — causing both short- and long-term health effects. Choose strictly VOC-free paints for your home to ensure the space is as non-toxic as possible.
For more inspiration, visit our Houzz page. If you’re ready to start planning your remodeling project, fill out the form below and one of our consultants will reach out to set up your free consultation.
Custom Design & Construction, founded in 1986, is a design-build company that specializes in high-end whole house remodels, home additions, kitchen, and bath remodels. With our headquarters in El Segundo, CA, we serve homeowners all over the South Bay area. We are an award-winning member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and have a 96% approval rating with GuildQuality.
"A good design, well executed is a joy for a very, very long time and that's what I got with Custom Design & Construction"