How to Make Your Home Renovation Project More Eco-Friendly

Posted on: 2 December 2016

Many homeowners are concerned with the impact their renovation and remodelling projects may have on the environment and may want to use materials and construction processes that are as eco-friendly as possible. Before you plan any work on your home, note a few tips for making the work more environmentally friendly overall and discuss these with your contractor as needed.

Use reclaimed pieces

You can typically find reclaimed wood, glass, and even plumbing pipes and electrical wiring that can be used for renovation and remodelling projects, so always look before you buy anything new. Railway ties, reclaimed from old tracks that are pulled up, are a sturdy choice for retaining walls and outdoor landscaping, and old house framing can be cut and trimmed as needed for a new project while still having years of life left in it. Old window panes can also be trimmed and fit into new frames, or the glass can be treated and then used for benchtops or splashbacks in the kitchen. Old chunks of concrete can be tossed into your new mixture of concrete for a driveway or walkway outside.

Look for low VOC

The term VOC refers to volatile organic compounds, and these are pollutants that are found in paints, sealants, stains, and other such coatings. These can be very irritating to the sinuses, and they can also settle into the ground around you when you use these materials. Look for low VOC products for any type of coating or colouring you use with your project.

Opt for wood already coloured or tinted

If you're adding new timber floors or are having cabinets built for your project, look for reclaimed wood that already has the tint, tone, or colour you prefer. This reduces the amount of paint and stain you'll need to use overall. White pine is very good if you're looking for white cabinets in the kitchen, or you might opt for reclaimed cherry wood or mahogany if you want darker floorboards with a nice tint to them.

Collect construction scraps

Be sure you collect and then recycle your own construction scraps and waste after your project is over. Don't assume that anything needs to go in the trash, as items like carpeting, concrete chunks, and even sod and vegetation can usually be recycled in some way. This keeps items out of landfills and also reduces the amount of virgin materials that need to be harvested for someone else's new construction project.