Renovating your property can be great fun. It allows you to take a shell of a building and make it into your home – but it does take a lot of hard work, patience and of course, costs money. Deciding on what renovations you’re going to do usually depends on your budget, and how much disruption you can tolerate whilst still living in the property – but many people are also now starting to consider sustainability in their plans.
Being more eco-friendly is a common topic – whether that’s governments pushing to meet climate targets, or images of flash flooding and forest fires on the news – but it’s only recently that this has become mainstream in home improvements. This is likely because there’s increased awareness, and there are more eco-renovation options on the market nowadays, and whilst they are still expensive, they’re far from being unobtainable.
The benefits of being sustainable are clear – you’ll cut your bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and have a fresh, modern-looking home. But for those who are focused on value for money, you’ll also be pleased to know that bringing your home up-to-date can also help when it comes to selling your property too. Here, we take a look at some of the best eco-renovations ideas for your home.
The interior of your home is the area that you’ll see the most, so it’s important that you love it. Before you start, consider how you’re going to use the space – high-traffic areas will benefit from hard floors rather than carpets, for example, and if you have kids, you’ll want to make sure that you include plenty of storage space. Making things more eco-friendly shouldn’t impact how easily you can use your home.
For wallpaper and paint, look out for eco-friendly products, and make sure to do your calculations accurately, so that you don’t end up with excess waste.
Whilst the living area might feel like the heart of your home, most of us use the kitchen multiple times a day, so it’s important to get this space to work for you. When it comes to choosing shiny new appliances, make sure to check out the energy rating before you buy, and choose a high-quality item that will stand the test of time. After all, your fridge and freezer will be running all year round.
New products have a rating sticker on them, so you can see the energy efficiency clearly when you’re purchasing. A is the best rating, and G is the least efficient, so you can use this to decide which product is right for you in your price range.
When it comes to final touches, there is really nothing more eco-friendly than buying second-hand. From sofas to wardrobes, many people sell items they no longer need for a discounted price. You can even buy whole kitchen suites online.
Remember that sanding and a lick of paint can go a long way – look for the shape and the quality of the item. For soft furnishings, it may be worth getting a quote to get them reupholstered, or learn to do it yourself for small items. This way, you can ensure the furniture feels fresh and new, rather than like it belongs to someone else.
There’s no denying that luscious swathes of grass look luxurious, but they’re not the best option when it comes to the environment. Maintaining a lawn like this requires regular watering and cutting, and it doesn’t support wildlife and biodiversity. If you’re desperate for the look a lawn provides, or you’re not particularly green-fingered, go for a more rugged look. Drought-resistant mixes can help you reduce the amount of water you use, and letting it grow slightly longer means that you won’t have to cut it as often.
For planting, look towards native species. They naturally flourish in your local environment, so you won’t have to waste water trying to keep them moist, or heating them to stop them succumbing to frost.
Making major changes to your home can be costly and disruptive, but often they make huge changes to how energy efficient your home is. They should last for a long time too, meaning that they’ll be a one off change. Especially if you’re planning on staying in a property for a while, they pay for themselves over time.
Well-fitting windows are key to keeping your home efficient and snug. Not only is choosing high-rated glass important but so too is the frame when it comes to sustainability. There are several eco-friendly options on the market, and ultimately the choice will depend on what style you are going for. After all, these are the first thing someone is going to see when they look at your home, so it’s important that they fit with the overall aesthetic, especially if it’s a period property.
If you’re lucky enough to have a south-facing roof, you’ll definitely want to consider adding solar panels to your property – even east and west-facing can work. These collect energy from the sun and this can be used to power your home right away, or be stored up to be used at a later date. You also have the option to sell the energy back to the grid, which will help when it comes to getting back the money from your investment.
To sum up
Whatever scale you decide to go for, there are plenty of options when it comes to eco-friendly renovation ideas for your home. Before you start, make sure to consider how you’re going to use the space, your budget, and how the renovations will affect your day-to-day life. It’s easy to happily steam ahead with a new kitchen, for example, but considering how you’ll cook in the meantime will go a long way towards making your renovation process a smoother and happier experience.
By: Pauline Davis