- Get an energy audit.
A home energy audit is the first step to understanding how much energy your home consumes and what steps can be taken to achieve better energy efficiency. Getting one before a remodel will help you plan and incorporate energy saving upgrades preemptively.
- Find a green contractor.
Not all contractors are created equal and when it comes to eco-friendly, not all contractors have the proper knowledge and/or interest to make sure they are taking steps towards lessening their environmental footprint come remodel time. Each state has different licensing rules for home contractors; an example being the certification programs offered through The National Association of Home Builders. Ensure your contractor is certified before getting started.
- Consider your materials.
No matter what your home renovation entails, there are always materials that are better for the environment, not to mention your wallet. You want to opt for materials that have a long life span so that you won’t have to replace them in a few years. When it comes to flooring, save the trees and veer away from wood. Instead, look into sustainable materials like bamboo and cork, or recycled materials like synthetic wool or repurposed glass. Look for hemp or cotton based insulation, or homasote fibreboard, which is made from recycled newspaper.
- Visit a salvage yard.
You never know what you could find, from discarded decorative pieces that can be cleaned up to look like new, to raw building materials. This approach is eco-friendly in two ways: 1. The toxic VOC that materials give off lessens over time, so old/used is better in this sense; and 2. Whatever you take will not end up in a landfill.
- Opt for quality over quantity.
Lucky for you, simplicity is trendy right now. Instead of decorating your rooms with many pieces, fixtures and accessories, pick your top choices and give them the spotlight they deserve. Less is more.