Environmental decline is a huge issue which is capturing the attention of people worldwide. As such, people are increasingly looking for ways to be kinder to the planet in all areas of their lives and looking into boosting sustainability in projects. We find that more people are looking to add some sustainable elements to their home extensions or build, as this is the perfect time to incorporate them. Here we have a few tips for those looking to be more sustainable in their own home improvement projects.
Upcycling is the art of taking old pieces of furniture and doing them up to make them new again is a great way for boosting sustainability in your projects. Recycling old furniture is great for the environment and can save you loads of money compared to buying brand new. It also gives you the chance to be creative and enjoy custom-designed, unique pieces of furniture. People are always giving away old pieces of furniture on sites like Facebook or Friday-ad. You can also pick up pieces from friends and family, your local recycling facility or even on the side of the road. You need a good eye for seeing the potential in things, but a good tip is to look for pieces that are good quality and have a nice basic shape to them. You can use tools to alter the existing furniture and paint and fabrics to freshen it up and give it a new design.
Reclaimed wood is that which has been used previously for another purpose. You can find all kinds of reclaimed wood to meet all your building and DIY needs, from floorboards, skirting boards and decking to window frames, doors and worktops. Using reclaimed wood helps to minimise the need to keep cutting down trees for building works. With environmental concern on the rise, an increasing number of wood recycling projects are popping up all over the country. You can often get wood much cheaper when it’s reclaimed, just pop a search into Google and it will come up with plenty of local places where you can get this type of material.
Is your home as energy-efficient as possible? Saving energy helps to reduce your carbon footprint and will save you money in the long run too so it’s a worthwhile investment. Make sure all your windows are double glazed, insulate your home and exclude any draughts. Carry out an audit of your property to see where energy is being lost and then get to work on these issues. You might want to think about replacing old appliances with newer, energy-efficient ones. If you have an old leaky toilet, you might want to replace it with a new low-flow toilet that will use less than half of the water.
One of the key things you do to ensure your project is more sustainable is to minimise construction waste. There are many ways you can do this. Salvaged materials will minimise the packaging waste of buying new whilst also recycling the old materials – a double whammy. If you do need to buy new, look for items with the least packaging. Try to be as accurate as possible when estimating the amount of materials you will need. If you have surplus materials, try to use them elsewhere if possible, donate them to others or return them to the supplier if they will take them.
Use Green Products and Suppliers
Wherever possible, try to use products which are sourced from eco-friendly suppliers. Make sure the wood in your materials has come from responsibly managed forests. Look for suppliers that have a clear environmental policy and can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices. Buy appliances that meet the strictest criteria for energy efficiency and have an A rating. Ensure the paints and decorating materials you’re using are not full of toxic chemicals; some paints contain volatile organic compounds that release toxic emissions into the atmosphere for years. It’s worth taking the time to do a bit of research to determine the eco-friendliest materials you can use without compromising on your designs.
Whether your home improvement project is small or large, there’s plenty you can do to make it that little bit more sustainable. If you’ve got any top tips on boosting sustainability in your projects, we’d love to hear them on our social media channels.