This time of the year always elicits the urge to change it up a bit, but change is a very vague word because it can go a number of ways. Change for what? The better? For worse? When it comes to the homes we live in, we might want to go all out and we can’t blame ourselves for it; but at the rate the environment is deteriorating each day, constantly banking on new and extravagant things can be just too costly for our pockets and surroundings.
This is why we suggest you renovate or build from scratch instead of buying. With these sustainable tips you don’t only change your home but holistically improve it.
Go for new-ish materials and furniture
Like any kind of crafty project, we should make sure that we are using the right kind of materials. Going for recycled or refurbished materials makes the most sense when it comes to retrofitting our house sustainably, not only because it would greatly reflect on the house but also due to the fact that it would cut down on waste that comes from patronizing brand new materials.
Contrary to popular belief, construction materials aren’t necessarily single-use as you could utilize reclaimed wood and even textiles that you can find with a bit of research here and there. This also greatly applies to the furniture you would want to use as there actually might be no need for you to go full-on Ikea. You could redecorate by simply aiming to elevate the look of what you already have either by having them restored or even just freshly embellished. If not, pre-owned pieces might be something you never knew you needed.
Use Non-VOC materials especially in the kitchen
Before buying specific construction materials like paint and concrete, be sure that you are buying 100 percent VOC-free products. Regular construction materials with VOCs or volatile organic compounds are bad since they are known to contain high amounts of carcinogens and irritants that vaporize and consequently infiltrate our bodies.
When we integrate these kinds of materials into our house (especially in our kitchens), there will be no turning back when it comes to air quality and consequently, its effects to our health.
Adding more areas for ventilation
This is something most houses in the Philippines need a lot of all year round. While our homes might need to be, in some way, closed off to the world, it is important for it to be able to let a good deal of fresh air and sunlight in if we are to cut down on electricity. So to do this, we can try to enlarge our windows or simply opt for blinds instead of curtains, use screen doors, and even bring in more plants to encourage an ample and healthy amount of ventilation.
Aside from allowing more air supply into the house, metal roofing can also keep us cool by deflecting sunlight and keeping heat from going inside the home. What’s more is that steel roofs are also completely recyclable and long-lasting.
For a greener and more efficient use of the roofs, however, we should consider investing in solar panels. I used the word invest because even though they can be a major and costly renovation, solar panels could nevertheless slash a big amount on overall electricity bills and more importantly, this renewable energy system reduces carbon footprint as well.
Low-flow plumbing system
One thing that’s easily taken for granted is the water we use in our bathrooms, which accounts for over 40 percent of our overall consumption. This is why we can’t overlook these little rooms if we are to remodel sustainably. The kind of water flow and pressure that our shower and sink faucets bring us can be a big factor in wastage or inefficient use of this resource.
I’m sure we’ve encountered faucets that possess the water pressure of a shower (or even a bidet for goodness sake); imagine how much excess water these kinds of devices blast out every time we turn them on. This can also go for toilets with unnecessary dam-like flush systems. Sometimes even though we want to save up on this precious liquid, we can’t because of unnecessary plumbing systems. Even if it may initially take some time to get used to, low-flow faucets, showers, and toilets are our best bets. And if you’re planning on getting a bath tub, you might want to reevaluate its costs not only to you but the environment.
Header photo courtesy of Unsplash
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Writer: JOY THERESE GOMEZ