If you own an older home, you’ve probably been paying attention to the latest innovations in home design and energy-efficient features. But you don’t have to buy a new home to take advantage of the upgraded technology. With a bit of creativity, you can turn your existing home into an energy-efficient, sustainable home.
Check out these 10 tips for renovating your home with sustainability and environmental friendliness!
1. Reuse & Restore
Before grabbing that sledgehammer and smashing through walls and cabinets, consider what you can reuse and restore. While buying all new is great, restoring and reusing some of what’s already in your home produces less waste — and can save you money on material costs.
If you’re going to open the wall between your kitchen and dining room while simultaneously building an addition, consider unscrewing the drywall on the wall you no longer need and using it for the room you’re adding. Additionally, if your kitchen cabinets aren’t in bad condition, you can restore them by painting or sanding and staining them for an updated look. You could also buy new cabinet doors and drawers instead of replacing the entire cabinet.
2. Consider Buying Reclaimed
Purchasing reclaimed building materials is another way to save money and add character to your home, while reducing landfill waste. Some businesses specialize in grabbing materials from renovation and demolition sites, cleaning them up, and reselling them so that other homeowners can use the materials in their building projects. Reclamation companies often have hardwood flooring, windows, doors, cabinets, and other materials for sale for less than you could buy new.
3. Add or Improve Insulation
If you have areas of your home that do not have insulation, like an attic or crawlspace, you can easily add foam insulation to improve air-tightness and energy efficiency. You can also opt for upgraded insulation in additions and rooms that are being renovated down to the studs.
4. Install Solar Panels
If you have the budget, installing solar panels can significantly reduce your reliance on external energy sources. However, the average cost of a residential solar panel installation is about $20,000, so this solution may not be for everyone. If you install solar panels, adding a backup battery system can ensure that you always have power, even if the municipal power goes out.
5. Consider Energy-Efficient Smart Lights
Like most homeowners, you’ve probably switched from incandescent light bulbs to CFL bulbs. However, LED light bulbs are even more energy-efficient than CFLs, and they don’t contain mercury. You can even buy LED lights that work with Alexa and Google voice-activated systems, allowing you to manage your lights while in and out of your home. So the next time you remember leaving a light on after having left, you can easily hop on your phone and turn it off instead of using up energy while you’re away.
6. Innovate & Automate
If you’re upgrading your kitchen, bathroom, or utility room, innovate and automate. Appliances today can be purchased with smart technology that links the device to your phone or a tablet via an app. It can tell you if your refrigerator door is open or if your dryer, washer, or dishwasher are finished. You can even purchase sensors for your laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen to tell you if an appliance is overflowing and creating a flood.
Additional automation products include whole house vacuum systems, robots, mops, and window cleaners. You can also buy devices for your kitchen sink and shower to help clean them automatically.
7. Incorporate Passive Design
One of the easiest ways to make your home more environmentally friendly and lower your carbon footprint is to incorporate passive design. While this may sound like a monumental task, it isn’t as hard as it seems. Passive design can simply be installing energy-efficient doors and windows. Any strategy that helps lower your home’s energy consumption improves its carbon footprint.
See how aluminum products play a role in greener, more sustainable homes.
8. Landscape With a Purpose
Don’t just landscape for curb appeal — landscape with a purpose. While curb appeal and creating relaxing areas with plants, trees, and bushes are important, you can also use trees and plants to help shield your home from the elements and deter intruders.
For example, a few trees along the west side of your house can help shield your home from the sun during the hottest part of the day. A few rose bushes under your windows can deter people from getting too close to your windows. Instead of planting flower beds, plant vegetable beds in raised garden beds so you can enjoy both the appeal and the harvest.
These tactics can not only make your landscape look more beautiful, but also ensure that the investment you’re making in your yard extends to providing a purpose for you, your family, and the environment.
9. Let the Outside In
Let the outside in with a curtain wall or sliding system. Curtain walls can be designed with and without openings. They can also wrap around corners, giving a panoramic view of your outdoor spaces. Sliding systems can fit the entire back wall of your great room and span around corners, giving you a fantastic view of your backyard and all its features. Leveraging natural light through these systems can also reduce your electricity usage during daylight hours.
10. Improve Indoor Air Quality
Improve your indoor air quality by adding air purifiers and upgrading your furnace or air conditioner. You can also install smart thermostats that automatically adjust to your heating and cooling needs.
Simple, inexpensive ways to improve indoor air quality include removing elements that trap dust, like wall-to-wall carpets and cloth curtains. Instead, consider hard surface floors and blinds or window screens that can raise and lower as needed. Some window coverings can even be mechanized to operate with the press of a button.
Improved indoor air quality makes your home a healthier place to live and can reduce the effects of allergies and the risk of illness through consistent filtering of the air.
Aluminum Door & Window Solutions With Reynaers Aluminium
Reynaers Aluminium offers energy-efficient windows, doors, and sliding systems to meet or exceed your needs when renovating your home. Our innovative door and window designs can come appropriately insulated, including super-high insulating and passive house innovations. Check out our previous projects in our inspiration gallery for more creative ideas.