Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he has been trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
If sustainability is important to you, you might already adjust your daily habits to be more environmentally friendly. But, why not go beyond your regular routine? Why not start with sustainability in your very own home?
Sustainable homes are on the rise, and for good reason. With issues like climate change, carbon emissions, and pollution constantly filling the news, now is the time to take action and make smarter environmental choices for the future. One report from the Net Zero Coalition discovered that there has been a 59% increase in the number of new houses that are “on the path to zero energy, meaning they produce as much or more energy than they use.”
Whether you’re thinking about buying a more sustainable home or you want to build one of your own, there are a few things you should be aware of throughout the process. Even if you just want to make upgrades to your existing home, knowing the best way to stay sustainable can make the processes easier.
So, let’s look at a few helpful tips.
Building a New Home
Construction and sustainability haven’t always gone hand-in-hand. But, as the demand for more environmentally friendly practices has increased, so has the eco-friendly way in which homes are built.
Some might argue that constructing a home with sustainability in mind is more expensive. If you’re already saving for a new home, you might need to add a bit more to your budget before taking the plunge. But, the beauty of an eco-friendly home is it can save you money, in the long run.
For example, installing solar panels can be an investment at first, but it’s estimated that they can save you $10,000 to $30,000 over their lifetime of use. Additionally, energy-efficient appliances and lights will cut down your utility bills.
Even if money isn’t an issue, focusing on using sustainable materials in your construction will benefit you, your family, and the environment. So, it’s crucial to work with a contractor who understands the sustainability movement and is willing to use eco-friendly building materials, including:
- Reclaimed wood
- Green insulation
The right contractor can also work with you to install energy-efficient windows, providing natural lighting to each room, and even help with details like low-flow faucets and toilets, which will reduce your water usage.
When you’re building a home from the ground up (literally), you’re in full control of just how sustainable it is. Not only will the home cut down your monthly expenses once it’s built, but you can feel good knowing you’re doing something proactive for the planet.
Buying a Sustainable Property
Because sustainable homes are becoming more popular, it isn’t difficult to find a property that has already been upgraded. You’ll want to look for homes that don’t use much net energy. Thankfully, they’re easy to find because they are so marketable.
If you’re interested in something eco-friendly but you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to sustainable features, there are a few components to check for when you’re doing your house hunt, including:
- The use of eco-friendly construction materials
- Green insulation
- Solar panels
- Double-glazed windows
- LED lighting
If you’re looking to buy an older home, it’s also important to note any drafty areas. They are especially common around windows or doors, which indicate gaps. These small leaks can cause heat to escape from the home, requiring more energy to keep things at the right temperature. While it’s an easy fix, it’s something to consider when you’re negotiating the price.
Remodeling Your Current Home
If you’re not currently in the market to build or buy a home, you can still make changes to your current property that will make it more sustainable and add value.
To ensure your home remodeling project is eco-friendly, use sustainable materials, and focus on using natural materials whenever possible, including:
- Natural linoleum
You can also spruce things up with a fresh coat of paint. It’s a fantastic way to completely change the look of a room without spending a lot of money. Plus, there are now eco-friendly paints available that keep your indoor air clean and healthy for your whole family.
Finally, if you don’t want to do a whole remodeling project, you can update your look by recycling and repurposing. Giving new life to used items is a great way to practice sustainability, and it’s the perfect solution if you have boho, farmhouse, or contemporary decor. Everything from buying used furniture and painting it to creating a new rug made from old wool sweaters can give your home a lot of character while doing something good for the planet.
The popularity of sustainability will continue to grow, and that’s a good thing! Whether you’re in the housing market now, or you’re thinking about the future of where (and how) you want to live, keep these tips in mind and pride yourself on your eco-friendly practices.