Earth-friendly living room in an upscale home

Earth-Friendly Home Remodel Projects

Upgrading or adding new features to your home can be exciting, especially if you’re looking to gravitate to an eco-friendly environment. The modern possibilities are endless. From installing cleaner energy options to integrating sustainable upgrades to seeking to conserve energy and water, you can easily beautify your home while being kind to our planet.

Related: Eco Friendly Living for Your Home

Investing in Earth-friendly home remodel projects gives you the opportunity to re-envision your home while helping to create a greener lifestyle. As a bonus, if you’re looking to save on your energy bill or increase the resale value of your home down the road, eco-friendly projects typically yield a nice ROI. Here are six great projects to consider.

Add Solar Energy Power

Solar energy power is a concept that is likely to continue gaining traction. For instance, some states have already passed laws or are likely to pass laws that require new construction homes to have solar panels. More laws and regulations are likely to follow. What better way to help our Earth than to use its top renewable and cleanest energy source? This investment reduces the use of fossil fuel-generated energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Another good upgrade is to install a solar water heater. These are expensive initially, but over time, they can really pay off. Most homeowners will shave $40-$110 off their water bill each year.

Related: Why Your Next Home Improvement Project Could Bring Tax Advantages

Consider Water Conservation Projects

Speaking of water, if you want to emphasize water conservation in your lifestyle, there are many ways you can do this. Features that can help reduce water use include:

  • Low-flush model toilets
  • New faucets
  • Water-saving showerhead
  • Tankless water heater

When purchasing new items to install, look for the WaterSense label. Designated items can save homeowners over 500 gallons per year. These options don’t cost as much as you’d think.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors

Energy-efficient doors in a coastal living room

Featuring our EnergyVue® Vinyl Preferred Sliding Glass Door SGD5470

Installing energy-efficient windows and doors is an excellent project. Windows and doors account for a lot of waste when it comes to heat and A/C. Investing in eco-friendly windows and doors can eliminate this problem. Not to mention, they refresh your home inside and out. This improves your home’s aesthetic and goes a long way towards a greener lifestyle. Modern windows and doors are designed with energy efficiency in mind. For instance, low-E impact windows are great for energy efficiency as they minimize the amount of ultraviolet light allowed through the glass. As a result, heat is reflected away from your home’s interior. A tinted glass door or installing a sliding glass door tint are also both good for mitigating the level of heat entering your home.

Related: 4 Factors That Make Patio Doors More Energy-Efficient

Aim for Eco-friendly Lighting

Years ago, the options for lighting were limited to incandescent light bulbs. These have a relatively short shelf life, aren’t energy-efficient, and leave a larger carbon footprint than contemporary bulbs. LED lights are a fantastic option. They last 15x longer than incandescent and 10x longer than fluorescent. The beauty of LEDs is they also give off a brilliant amount of light. Installing dimmer switches can also help offer different levels of light to help increase conservation. Smart lighting gives you better control over lighting—even when you’re not home. When buying lighting, look for ENERGY STAR-rated bulbs.

Use Low or Zero VOC Paint

Older paints contain lead and other harmful toxins. Modern paint options include a low VOC (volatile organic compound) option, which costs a little more, but is worth the extra money. VOCs, by nature, “off-gas” chemicals into a home’s indoor air. Not all VOCs have a scent. Even if you don’t smell the VOCs, they could cause adverse health effects. Painting rooms with low-VOC or zero-VOC paint is an inexpensive way to be Earth-friendly and create beautiful spaces in the home.

Plan for Sustainable Materials

Wooden butcher's block countertop in an earth-friendly home

When doing any remodel, chances are you’ll use many different materials to add or subtract the features you want. When you’re making changes, try to think about eco-friendly options that involve sustainable materials. Sustainable flooring is a popular concept right now and can bring you a solid ROI. Great options include hardwood, reclaimed hardwood, salvaged lumber, bamboo, natural linoleum, sealed concrete, and cork flooring. Changing out a countertop can completely transform a kitchen. Even better, it can be done in a very Earth-friendly way. Try installing reclaimed wood, salvaged wood, or even recycled paper to create unique, beautiful countertops.

Related: Xeriscaping Guide for Florida

Additional Tips for Green Home Remodels

Going green doesn’t have to break the bank. Nor does it need to be restrictive. To effectively create a greener home environment, This Old House offers some additional great tips. Here is a brief summary.

  • Think realistically about square footage and only expand what you need. This equates to using fewer materials and requiring less electricity or HVAC.
  • Seek out green-minded professionals. These experts are well-informed and will go the extra mile to be eco-friendly in chosen materials and work habits.
  • Be open to new ideas. Many of the best green upgrades or remodels are ideas you might not think of – ask the experts.
  • “Think big, but start small.” Your budget may not allow for 100% eco-friendly options, so be realistic and do what you can. Every little bit of sustainability helps.

The beauty of investing time and money on Earth-friendly home remodeling projects is that there are so many options. In the end, you will have a more eco-friendly house and create a healthier living environment for your family. It’s a win-win all around.

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