Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Safe & Natural Home Improvements For An Eco-Friendly Remodel

We hope you enjoyed our beginning homesteading series! If you missed any of the posts, just look back over the past few weeks on our blog for lots of helpful homesteading tips for new homesteaders.

But maybe you're not looking to be a homesteader - you just want to live a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle. A great place to start is with your home. Got a kitchen that needs redoing, or a bathroom? Well, if you're thinking about making some green home improvements, then here are some tips to help you naturally improve your home in an eco-friendly way. Look for these things to not only save you money when doing the remodel, but also in the long run. And you will be able to feel good about what you have done both for your home and the environment.

1. Use sustainable lumber. Sustainable lumber is certified lumber which was harvested and transported using more sustainable practices. The harvesting process evaluation is achieved by checking how the trees were planted, grown, cut down, and then replanted to ensure the regrowth of the forest. 

Tracking the transport is the next step because it traces it back to the harvesting practices, so there is a guaranteed link between the sustainable harvesting practices and the final product. So look for the certification on the label of the lumber to make sure it came from the forests which are certified sustainable.

2. Use sealants, stains, caulks, and paint low in VOC's. VOC's are volatile organic compounds. Products that either have no VOC or low VOC are non-toxic and don't give off as many gases into the air around you.

English: Arts and Crafts: Reuse ideas: Salvage...
Reuse ideas: Salvaged single-pane wood frame window turned decor by painting the window and adding stencils. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Use recycled materials. You can get recycled building materials from just about anywhere - from the paper on drywall being recycled to Masonite board, to crushed glass granite. Doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, and flooring can all be found at your local salvage yard. Or try a ReStore store from Habitat for Humanity if there's one in your area. 

You might not be able to find exactly what you had planned for your remodel. It's like shopping at Goodwill. You're limited to what's there, but you can also get some really great items for cheap that will make your home look great - and unique.

4. Shop local and small. Hit up the local mom and pop hardware store instead of Lowe's or Home Depot. There you can often find materials that are locally sourced instead of being shipped in from overseas. Made-in-America products are good for the environment because you are getting products which haven't been shipped from halfway around the world.

Think of all the carbon used in shipping something from the other side of the world! When you shop locally, not only are you helping local homegrown businesses - it's also better for the environment.

English: Water heater Atmor in line.
In-line (tankless) water heater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
5. Replace old appliances with Energy Star certified appliances. You'll save money and the environment as well by using energy efficient appliances. Change over that hot water heater, the furnace, refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove to energy efficient appliances when you do your upgrades. Or go for a tank-less water heater.

Do your research on the appliances to see what will give you the most savings on your energy bills. You'll be glad you did, if for nothing else than for the money savings you'll see on your energy bills.

So now you know what to look for with building products when it comes time for home improvements. Make natural home improvements yourself and it will cost you less and save you money over time. Plus you will increase your home value, and make it look and feel unique.

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