Sustainably Chic

How to Do an Eco-Conscious Home Renovation

LifestyleNatalie Kay

Guest Post by Bobbi Peterson of Living Life Green

There are loads of articles and TV shows out there offering you how-tos and DIYs for your next home-reno projects, but how can you weed through all that information on the web efficiently? What tasks are vital to keeping your next home improvements green and environmentally friendly?

Don’t worry. These questions are not impossible to answer. In fact, sustainable home makeover options are not as difficult as you might think. All you need is a little ingenuity and a push in the right direction — with the help of some great expert tips.

Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

Start small with your first project. Transforming your entire homestead into an eco-conscious establishment isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. Put the overwhelming long list away, and instead focus on one task at a time. For example, you might find the easiest way to begin is to focus on transitioning all of your light sources to green energy-efficient lighting — which is as simple as changing a light bulb to CFL or LED solutions.

Consider also swapping out old shower heads and faucets for low-flow, watering-saving options. You can also put together a barrel to catch rain water. This can serve as a way to water plants, or you can filter it for other uses around the house.

Repurpose the Old to Integrate With the New

By going with solid materials like hardwood floors, which are durable and long-lasting, you won’t necessarily need to be replacing those floors anytime soon. If you do want to switch them out, however, the wood can be repurposed.

Additionally, even if some of your other old materials weren’t made in a sustainable way, they have already contributed their energy to the Earth’s CO2 levels. When you use reclaimed wood or trim, you are giving it a second life without ever expending any new energy in the process — ultimately reducing your own carbon footprint for your renovation.

And let’s be honest, reclaimed wood projects are all the rage right now. That means in the process of helping to sustain the planet, your house is just going to look really cool.

Be More Deliberate in Your Product Choice

One of the most important aspects of transitioning to a more sustainable and eco-friendly home is understanding that there is a ripple effect based on the decisions you make when you purchase items. Consider using bamboo and cork as your new flooring. Bamboo is abundant, durable and easy to cultivate over and over again — and quickly.

If you’re thinking of putting on a new deck, composite decking is a great a alternative to straight wood. It’s a combination of wood and recycled plastic. Not only do you give worrisome plastic a new purpose, but you are also building yourself a deck that will last a greater number of years and be more durable. See, this sustainability thing is a win/win.

Waste Not, Want Not

Don’t just throw away the bits and pieces you’re switching out in your home. There may actually be a way to avoid the landfill all together by donating items such as cabinets, building materials, sinks, appliances etc. to organizations like Habitat for Humanity. You’ll not only spare another pile in the dump, but you’ll also get to help somebody out along the way — and that’s pretty special.

Buy Reused Materials

Your plans might be to give a second life to some repurposed appliances, and that’s ideal for saving some money in your piggy bank and remaining eco-friendly at the same time. Resale can also help divert large portions of the millions of pounds of packaging and other wasteful material included with new appliances.

Don’t Make Those Finishing Touches With VOCs

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds — meaning these compounds are in a gaseous state permeating the air. They are bad for your health and the health of the environment.

If you want to avoid letting out these noxious chemicals when you’re painting or staining, you have options. Make the decision to use eco products that are low in the VOCs so harmful to you and everyone around you.

Support Your Local Economy

This might seem like a no brainer, but people often need to be reminded that supporting local businesses in your area also means you’re supporting your own social welfare and that of the community you live in. You’ve shown a vested interest in helping your neighborhood thrive — not to mention you’ll save a bundle on transportation costs by sticking closer to home. The price might be a little bit more, but at the end you’ve saved time, which is incredibly valuable, and you’ll have contributed to a long-term sustainable economy at your back door.

Time to Jump in and Go Green

Don’t worry — you don’t have to do this alone. You can hunt down experts to get some first-hand advice, or you can simply do your own reading and research. No matter what, you have a head start with some great — and easy ideas — to get you started. All you have to do is begin. 



Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.