Sustainable building is on the rise in new home construction and commercial architecture. But your existing home can be made more sustainable, too.
From insulation to flooring to solar and wind power generators, eco-friendly home improvement projects are great ways to make your home more green and sustainable.
Green and Sustainable is More than Composting and Recycling
If your house has been around for more than, say, 10 years it was not very likely to have been built with green and sustainable materials. That being said, it probably does have far more energy efficiency built into it than a similar house built in the 60s, 70s, or even the early 1980s.
However, regardless of the age of your home, there are several home improvement projects that you can carry out to increase the level of sustainability and green benefits.
There are two major benefits to sustainable buildings: lowered energy use - which means lower bills - and reduced waste and use of resources, which helps to protect the planet.
In addition, living in a greener and more sustainable home environment can lead to improved health among other things.
As one article noted,
"According to the Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor air is two to five times less polluted than indoor air. Building and furnishing materials, such as paints, cleaning products and carpets, can be dangerous for human health. The use of sustainable materials can help with the purification of the air."
And there are other benefits, as well.
By installing well-insulated windows and fully insulating ceilings and walls, it's possible to ensure that virtually no energy is wastes. Making use of solar heaters, insulated air-conditioning pipes and photovoltaic (solar) panels can all work together to make a home more energy efficient and less harmful to the environment.
In other words, you can save green by being green!
Home Improvement Projects Using Sustainable Products
Whether you are looking to make some simple and easy-on-the-wallet improvements, or want to invest in some major renovations to garner a significant ROI down the road, they can all include sustainable products.
The list of changes and improvements a homeowner can make on an existing house is limited only by the available products and their budget.
Here are some of the potential projects and changes that many homeowners can implement:
[Graphic courtesy Coinet]
Oftentimes, the pursuit of using sustainable products is simply an option available to homeowners who are looking to do common upgrades such as new flooring, for example.
Instead of new carpet, vinyl or laminate flooring, or even hardwood flooring, the folks at The Spruce suggest considering these green alternatives:
- Green Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo floors look and feel like wood, but bamboo is a grass that's grown mostly in China. It is a renewable resource, resilient, comes in a variety of colors and shades, and is self-generating.
- Natural Linoleum Flooring
This flooring is made from linseed oil, a natural binding agent harvested from pine trees, as well as renewable wood products, ground limestone, and jute, a plant fiber. Linoleum floors are stain-resistant, do not absorb water, and are biodegradable.
- Sustainable Wood Flooring
Certain hardwoods, such as Brazilian cherry or white tigerwood, are harvested from well-managed, replanted forests. Tigerwood is a fast-growing species, making it a more sustainable alternative.
In the market for a new water heater? Go tankless.
Tankless water heaters heat water on demand, so you aren't wasting energy by continually heating 40 to 50 gallons of water that's not being used, effectively cutting your energy consumption almost by half.
Many tankless water heaters that heat water in seconds. And along with cutting energy use, they last longer than hot water tanks, are smaller, conserve water, and take up less space in landfills.
Another green improvement project would be to install dual-paned windows. These provide far superior insulation as well as soundproofing qualities. Dual-paned window designs include air-filled, gas-filled, and silver-coated construction. Each type gives varying levels of thermal performance to conserve heat in the winter and keep heat out in the summer.
One of the easiest and most affordable improvements a homeowner can make for sustainability and energy conservation is installing a programmable thermostat.
These devices allow you to control the level of cooling or heating that occurs while you are away or sleeping, which means your home uses less energy. This energy savings also saves you money, helps lower your use of fossil fuels, and reduces your impact on the environment.
If you're in the market for more insulation, or want to replace what you have, here are some of the top "green" insulation materials out there:
- Sheep's Wool
Scientists have taken the insulating properties of sheep's wool and applied them to home construction. The R-value of wool falls between R-3 and R-4 per inch of thickness.
Cotton insulation is similar to fiberglass insulation in that it can be rolled into batts and the R-value of cotton insulation and fiberglass is the same, roughly R-3.2 to R-3.7 per inch of thickness.
Aerogel's molecular structure makes it difficult for heat to pass through and has an R-value of R-10.3 per inch of thickness. Aerogel is also one of the most expensive insulation materials.
- Rigid Polystyrene
polystyrene is a great insulator with R-values that range from R-3.8 to R-4.4 per inch of thickness, and so it's considered green by the EPA because it can save so much energy.
A spray-on foam insulation, Icynene, is made from castor oil. When sprayed onto a wall or ceiling it has the thickness of paint. Once it hits the surface, Icynene expands nearly 100 times it volume. creating a thick blanket of insulation that tightly seals air leaks as well as muffles noise. Icynene has an R-value of R-3.6 per inch of thickness.
Partner with Junk King For Green and Sustainable Junk Removal
Junk King wants to be your partner for providing efficient, safe and truly eco-friendly residential construction waste removal service. With Junk King on your team, you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of your home improvement project or remodeling debris.
In fact, our expert waste removal team will break down and haul off any type of junk and debris you have.
And unlike the backseat or trunk of your car, our junk removal trucks are made to handle dirty and dangerous debris materials!
Ready to get rid of your home improvement project waste? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Our professional and insured junk removal team will call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive at your home and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck. You simply point and we haul the debris into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.
Make an appointment today by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).