Incorporating eco-friendly innovations into your house renovation plans isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for your home’s resale value, too. Prospective buyers are increasingly attracted to eco-friendly homes, not only because they tend to have lower electricity bills each month, but also because being environmentally conscious has become fashionable.
Whatever your motivation for implementing eco-friendly changes into your house renovations, we’ve come up with five ideas designed to give you a little green inspiration.
1. Rethink, reuse, recycle.
Wherever possible, restore or upcycle used items. A lick of paint can give an old piece of furniture new life and restored antique furniture carries a timeless charm. Upcycling means creating something completely new from old ‘rubbish’ or discarded items. Use old wine barrels as coffee tables, stack fruit crates on their sides to create rustic shelving or use an old oar as a curtain rod. You’ll find endless inspiration online for creative upcycled décor ideas for your house renovations, particularly on sites like Pinterest.
2. Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
Energy-efficient LED lights are kinder to the environment than standard light bulbs. Because LED lights use less energy, they help lower your electricity bill and save you money in the long run – even if the bulbs are initially more expensive.
Buying energy efficient kitchen appliances, power tools, gardening equipment and home office equipment wherever possible will also help reduce your home energy use. If your house renovations include a kitchen overhaul, remember that gas stoves usually work out to be more eco-friendly than electric stoves, due to the fact that they heat up instantly.
3. Design a recycling-friendly kitchen.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house for cultivating eco-friendly habits. A lot of food packaging is recyclable, while organic waste – like veggie peels and eggshells – can be used for compost instead of thrown in the bin.
Environmentally conscious kitchen designs include ‘recycling centres’ that make it as easy and intuitive as possible to sort and store recyclable items. Designate a space beneath the counter for recycling bins or an indoor composting worm farm. Remember, you’re more likely to recycle if your kitchen design makes it an easy and straightforward process.
4. Install energy-efficient windows.
Windows and glass walls and doors are notorious energy wasters in the home. This is because heat passes through glass easily, making your home very hot in summer and too cold in winter. In response to this, we end up using a lot of energy attempting to regulate the temperature indoors.
There is a simple way to make your existing windows more energy-efficient when doing house renovations. The application of frosted window film slows the transfer of heat through glass, thereby insulating your windows. Because insulated windows help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, you use less energy trying to control the temperature indoors.
5. Install a solar powered hot water cylinder.
If your house renovations are substantial enough that they require installing a new hot water cylinder, seriously consider getting a solar powered one. Solar powered hot water cylinders massively reduce your electricity bill and are also subsidised by the South African government.
Bear in mind that older hot water cylinders are usually gravity operated, while newer models are pressure operated. Designed to work with powerful, pressure-fed hot water cylinders, eco-friendly showerheads come with a water-saving ball inside. These showerheads aren’t suitable for gravity operated hot water cylinders. Because solar powered cylinders use a combination of pressure and gravity, you might have to remove the ball from a new showerhead to avoid ending up with a shower that produces nothing more than an underwhelming drizzle.
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