It is only a matter of time before your home requires renovation. It may be the loose tiling that prompts you to commence with the home project, or it could be something more serious – like leaking pipes or damaged roof. Either way, the rule of entropy dictates that, no matter how well-maintained your house is, that dreaded home makeover will rear its ugly head sooner or later – and you’d better be ready to make some meaningful upgrades as soon as the time comes. These days, the preferable upgrades come in form of eco-friendly improvements which are in sync with the times of climate change. If you are an environmentally conscious individual who is ready to make certain changes to improve the odds of humanity, here are 7 tips for green home renovation.
1. Rely on sunlight
Of course, careful planning goes without question when it comes to any type of renovation, let alone a cutting-edge green refurbishing, but the first thing you should know before you outline your goals and needs is that, when in doubt, you should rely on sunlight. This rather simple and elegant tip is actually the backbone of eco-friendly homes and it should be the first thing to put on the table between you and the contractor as you begin to discuss the project.
Sun is, as far as humans are concerned, indispensible and limitless source of energy, heat and light. Even the greatest layman knows this and you should take advantage of this to the fullest by proposing skylights, bigger windows with protective sliding panels (more on that below) and the addition of solar panels. It will make your exterior look open and sleek, it will make your interior pop with newfound zest and it will save you a ton of money on electrical bills.
2. Modular-natural light
Now, sunlight is a double-edged sword. While the exposure of windows to the sun’s ceaseless heat during the day is absolutely perfect for winter months, things may get quite sizzling during the summer months. This is where sliding panels come into play. Here’s a reasonable proposal you can put in front of your contractor: windows that stretch from floor to ceiling on either one or two walls and sliding wooden panels – that are either foldable or not, depending on your requirements – which can cover those windows from the outside. The controls, of course, should be accessible from the inside.
This way, you will have a completely modular set of coverings for windows in case of an excessive heat wave. This heat is why it is important to install them on the outside and not on the inside, like some blinders. It’s much easier to keep the house cool if the sunrays do not hit the glass. Tweaks and ideas like this are reasonable but the way they will be executed depends on whether you have chosen the best, open-minded contractor – which leads us to the next crucial tip.
3. Carefully audit the professionals
You need to find experts who are ready to take up a challenge and who share your ideals. Many will claim that they are proficient in green building techniques, but it is often a ruse as they rely on client’s lack of savvy. Carefully audit them through testimonials (we live in the time of the internet, so this should be easy), and see whether they practice what they preach. Are they using eco-friendly tools?
Do they acquire their material from local suppliers – since importing materials from faraway locations spends fuel and increases carbon emissions? In keeping with green-economic behaviors, old-fashioned tools are preferable to electrical variants and mobile scaffolding rental platforms are preferable to automatic hydraulic lifts that waste energy. Are contractors certified in some verifiable way and do they belong to an eco-friendly organization or group? Be as thorough as possible!
4. Purchase reclaimed goods
Reclaimed goods and materials are usually just as good as the new ones and you’ll get them at half the price, if not cheaper. It goes without saying that this is environmentally prudent. Reclaimed timber saves forests and reclaimed concrete and other hard materials preserve entire biomes. They save energy, resources and time. See if the contractor is, in some extent or shape, connected to the retailers that deal in reclaimed and recycled materials. This should be an additional tell-tale sign of their legitimacy for green home renovations.
5. The electrical matters
When it comes to the lighting, eco-friendly renovations is quite straightforward. If need be, the separate contractor electrician should replace all of the old fixtures with the newer models that can accommodate LED light bulbs – though this is required only in extreme cases. Most standard fixtures can already accommodate them. The rest is up to you – in other words, it is a DIY green refurbishing project. Replace all of your light with LED models and see how the numbers on your electrical bill “melt away” in front of your eyes. An extra thing you can do is hire the electrician to install a few additional fixtures and motion-sensor lighting for the exterior.
Green renovation is a tricky business so in order to curb your own anxiety just avoid getting burdened with details. Take a holistic approach to the whole project and put your trust into the hands of professionals. An energy efficient home is what you are aiming at, so keep all the philosophy focused on that end goal. The first round of bills that follow the renovation will put all your doubts at rest and keep a nice cut of your salary in your pocket.