How to Sustainably Remodel Your Home

How to Sustainably Remodel Your Home

Norstone USA, a natural stone wall tile company, created an extensive guide on how to sustainably remodel your home in 2017. Here's an excerpt from the guide. Read the full post here.

Positive Impacts of Green Remodeling

By choosing to remodel, you have already made a green choice. Instead of building a home from scratch, remodeling allows you to reuse materials in your home that are already in place. According to Natural Life Magazine, buildings make up approximately 40 percent of the energy and materials used in the world. Remodeling your home with sustainability in mind will contribute to a positive impact on the world’s energy consumption.

Having an environmentally-friendly home will allow you to avoid many negative aspects of renovating, such as:

  • Hurting the environment with newly harvested and wasted materials
  • Off-gassing of toxins
  • Increasing the amount of construction and demolition waste and debris

Having an eco-friendly home can change the quality of life for you and your family in many drastic ways. Sustainable appliances will ultimately reduce the cost of bills thanks to their energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the average household spends about $2,150 on energy bills, but sustainable houses have saved between 30-60 percent on those bills.

There are even incentives offered by local, state, and federal agencies for going green in your lifestyle. Windows, doors, roofing, insulation, and HVAC are all items of a home remodel that are subject to tax credits. Local utility providers sometimes offer rebates for green upgrades as well.

Choose refreshing over replacing

Instead of replacing all of the materials in your home, remodeling in a sustainable way by reusing materials can also save you money. Recycling is a huge aspect of living a green lifestyle. Repurposing items and materials prevents unnecessary, additional purchases for your home upgrades. Saving natural resources and reducing the emissions from the manufacturing and transportation of these materials does the environment a huge favor. Many green products and materials are also more durable and effective compared to non-sustainable products.

Deconstruct Instead of Demolish

Demolition has an immense, negative impact on the environment due to material waste. Before remodeling your home, think strategically about what to deconstruct and what items to keep. Thinking sustainably ahead of time can save you money by minimizing your long list of materials to buy and reduce waste. Walk through your home and see what you can re-use. Light fixtures, molding, cabinets, and even doors can be repurposed.

Starting Small

If after doing your research you realize that you just can’t sustainably remodel your entire house at the moment, think about it in phases. If you want to start with running a more efficient household, focus on:

  • Energy-efficient appliances

  • On-demand water heaters

  • High-efficiency insulation

  • Solar technology

The next step of your green remodel can tackle things like using:

  • Sustainably harvested woods

  • Reclaimed lumber for system rebuilding

  • Reclaimed fixtures

  • Rainwater collection as part of your home plumbing system

If you love the idea of renovating your home to be more energy efficient, but can’t take on a full house remodel, think about remodeling on a room-by-room basis. It may feel more realistic to take on the upgrading of kitchen appliances to be more sustainable, instead of picturing all of the things in your home that need to be addressed.

When thinking about starting small, you can also take a step back and conceptualize how much space you actually need in your home. If you have a room that doesn’t get much use, you can either reduce your overall square footage or repurpose it into a space that would be further enjoyed. Smaller living spaces are ultimately more affordable, and have less negative impact on the environment by using less materials and emitting less toxins into the air.

Another idea that is mindful of space is to double up on the purposes of your rooms. You can easily add a washer and dryer to a kitchen or bedroom in a discreet way, or even into a hallway or a closet. Open-concept homes often have one large room that serves as the kitchen area, living room, and dining room.


Topics: Doors, Energy Audits, Going Green, Healthy Homes, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Lighting, Maintenance & Repair, Remodeling, Sustainable Communities, Thermal Envelope, Ventilation, Windows

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