In a perfect world we’d all live in housing that’s eco-friendly from the eaves to the foundations. A lucky few will be able to design green homes from scratch. Most of us can only remodel in small ways or in small steps,
but even a minor makeover can be good for your bank balance, the planet and maybe universal karma!
The big green solutions involve re-roofing, adding solar panels for water heating and electricity generation and other major league renovations. Maybe you can slate these for the long term. Meanwhile, you can do smaller things. Here are some green remodeling strategies that almost anyone can implement.
• Are you refreshing the paint work in your home? Use green paints. They are fume and toxin free and are less likely to damage the environment or enlarge your carbon footprint.
• Go for low-energy lighting. As well as low wattage, low energy light bulbs, use LED lighting and solar-powered outdoor lights instead of flicking a switch for conventional illumination.
• Even if you are only buying an area mat, make sure your floor coverings are eco-friendly. Natural materials from sustainable sources score high (unless they’ve been shipped or flown in from the other side of the world). Don’t forget that synthetics can be green if they are made from recycled materials that would otherwise be rotting and giving off noxious gases in a landfill site.
• If it’s not possible to replace your major appliances with approved low-energy equivalents, you can always start with the kettle and any other small items that you use a lot.
• Think green insulation. Recycled insulation for your loft can be almost as good as re-roofing. Know where the heat escapes from your home in cold weather and plug accordingly with green materials. Use eco-friendly lagging (thermal insulation) to reduce heat loss from pipes and boilers.
Green solutions aren’t just about big gestures. It’s also about the little things you can do, which all add up eventually. Seeing the results of small steps in green remodeling will only inspire you to go to the next level, for more savings and more help for our precious earth.