Lifestyle

Sustainable Home Renovations - Step by Step Guide

By Suhayl Lahar
15.01.19

If you're planning to renovate your home, here's our step-by-step guide to doing so as sustainably as possible:

 

As awareness of the importance of having a distinct environmental consciousness grows, green practices are becoming an increasingly common aspect of day-to-day life. But while carrying a reusable water bottle and a tote bag might be the first steps to a more sustainable lifestyle, there are also simple changes you can make in the home to incorporate greener living. Not only are sustainable interior options now more readily available, but thanks to an increased popularity of positive environmentalism, many of these design options are even part of the latest interior trends. 

From durable flooring to non-toxic walling (and everything in between), here's our step-by-step guide on how you can approach a stylish home renovation without having to sacrifice your eco credentials:   

Flooring - Think about the long-run 

Perhaps the most imperative quality of any green interior material is durability. After all, the longer a product lasts, the less sourcing, extracting and transportation efforts (and all the harmful byproducts that often come with these practices) of further materials are required. 

Tiles that look stylish both indoors and outdoors are not only a versatile flooring option for home renovations, but are also a great solution for the eco-interior designer. Natural, high-quality stone tiles from sustainable quarries are arguably the most environmentally-friendly choice, as they will last for several years with little maintenance - meaning that your home will be sustainable for generations.

Perhaps the most imperative quality of any green interior material is durability.

In fact, even imitation tiles such as wood-effect and slate-effect tiles can contribute to resource preservation by reducing the need to extract these materials from the wider environment, especially if they’re made from recycled material or are ‘ultra thin’ to make the material go further.

Walls - Be wary of chemicals 

With your flooring decided, it’s time to consider your walling options. 

A lick of paint might be the quickest and easiest way to freshen up tired walls, but its environmental impact is often overlooked. Perhaps surprisingly to some, a significant quantity of conventional paint products contain harmful and toxic chemicals. Such chemicals play a significant role in environmental damage, so much so that the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) actually classifies paint as one of its top five most hazardous substances. 

Luckily, there are plenty of more environmentally-friendly alternatives. There is now a vast array of eco-friendly paints available on the market (check out Earth Born paints) that are made from raw, organic materials and subsequently do not produce the harmful off-gassing from toxic chemicals and pollutants. 

Appliances - Be efficient with your appliances 

The environmental impact of regular home devices can often be overlooked, so while undergoing a renovation it might be the perfect time to consider an upgrade or two. 

There are green options available for just about any type of home appliance, so upgrading the ones you use most frequently to more eco-friendly models is a sensible move. However, a complete overhaul of your home’s appliances can be a costly practice so we suggest focusing on upgrades that are both environmentally and financially efficient - such as eco-washing machines - cutting down your bills while reducing environmental damage in the process. 

Now is also a good time to contact your local water provider to find out more about water saving devices, such as a water efficient show ahead, which are often provided free of charge (see Thames Water). 

Furniture - Don’t overlook your furniture choices 

During a home remodel, furniture is often considered the finishing touch. However because of this, the environmental impact of your furniture choices is often not given the same consideration as other aspects of your home’s renovation. 

To combat this, look to invest in furniture pieces constructed from recycled and reclaimed materials such as timber and metal, as opposed to alternative man-made materials. Not only does this approach prevent the need for extracting additional resources, but will provide a stylish interior decor that is guaranteed to add a touch of uniqueness to your home. 

Recycling - Stay green until the very end 

With your home now remodelled in the greenest way possible, it’s time to ensure you don’t contradict all your hard work in the home by failing to correctly dispose of your old materials. In the UK, 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste is created each year, much of which still goes to landfill.  To combat this problem, last month, Aquafil opened the first carpet recycling facility in the US in Phoenix, which will recycle more than 16,000 tonnes of carpet each year to be transformed, together with other plastic waste, into brand new ECONYL® yarn for the fashion and interior industries.

Recycling is extremely important when it comes to your overall environmental efforts. So, be sure to avoid simply throwing your old items into your wheelie bin and, instead, use this guide to find your local recycling centre for just about any item - from electrical goods to carpets. 

If you have to get rid of the tiles you remove from your previous home design, don't throw them away as these are ripe for repurposing. Whether it's a new, heat-proof top for an old coffee table; an eye-catching focal point around your hearth or simply using them as coasters, there are plenty of ways you can upcycle old tiles - all you need is your imagination.

 

For more sustainable home inspiration, see our list of some of our favourite ethical homeware brands.

Keep your newly renovated home sparkling with eco-friendly cleaning products.

Sustainable Home Renovations - Step by Step Guide