If you want to make a healthy and fresh start without actually moving house, renovating your home could be the perfect answer. Remodeling in the past typically involved using materials that were unsustainable and/or contained toxins that were harmful to the environment. This is no longer the case, as there are numerous green innovations to use to save money and help the planet at the same time.

Have a green plan

The planning stage is important when considering hiring green-savvy professional designers and decides what you want done with waste materials, as well as what eco-friendly materials to use in the build.

If it’s a major job such as a kitchen rebuild, ask friends and neighbors who’ve had remodels done to recommend green professionals. Obtain examples of previous work and ask about the ways in which it is eco-friendly. This is also a good way to learn about the relative sustainability and toxicity of different materials and how to lower energy costs, reduce consumption, and make full use of natural light.

Recycle wherever possible

Consider what to do with the waste materials. Much of it might be suitable for repurposing, such as paving a backyard path with old brickwork from a disused fireplace rather than simply dumping it. In addition, local salvage yards might be happy to take or buy usable materials that you no longer want.

Choose green build materials

Those same yards will probably also have windows, doors, tiles, doorknobs, and numerous other materials from recent demolitions or rebuilds that you can use in your own project. You can also opt for materials that are eco-friendly substitutes, and these will usually cost you no more than materials known to harm the environment.

According to Greenpeace, for example, vinyl is one of the worst offenders out there, so go for linoleum instead, which uses natural linseed oil rather than a cocktail of phthalates and dioxins.

Regular paints also release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere. You can now buy non-VOC versions of all the paints you’ll need, as well as non-VOC caulks and sealers.

Normal carpets also emit VOCs, but again, there are eco-friendly alternatives available if you take the small trouble to look for them, which will have green label certification. Besides, there are plenty of natural and healthier alternatives to carpets, such as bamboo and cork, materials that grow fast and are sustainable.

In terms of interior décor, solid wooden shutters made from natural wood will not only look fabulous but also provide excellent insulation during winter and keep the rooms cool in the summer months.

There’s a consensus now that our planet needs to be protected against human’s often thoughtless and frankly selfish depredations, and one way of helping is by adopting an eco-friendly personal lifestyle. A rebuild is the ideal place to start implementing a green agenda and doing our bit for the hard-pressed environment. The great thing about green living is that it actually works out cheaper than staying in the old, toxic rut.

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