If your home is more than just a few years old, it probably wasn’t built with sustainability in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t green it up!
Your next remodeling project is a super opportunity to make your home more sustainable. Choosing appropriate materials is a key way to do this.
Green building materials are ones that feature one or more of the following qualities:
- Locally produced
- Recycled or re-used
- Nontoxic to humans and the environment
- Produced in an environmentally sustainable manner (such as certified organic agricultural products, or items produced using renewable energy)
- Minimizes resource consumption
No matter your location, you are sure to find many green building materials available for your next home improvement project. Here are some suggestions to consider as you explore your options:
1. Reclaimed wood. Wood is a lovely natural material to use in the home. All wood is biodegradable and renewable, but reclaimed wood — wood that was used in the past for another purpose and salvaged for re-use — is especially environmentally friendly. It requires far less energy to bring to market than harvested wood products, and no living trees need to be cut to produce it. Most reclaimed wood comes from outdated barns, warehouses, boxcars and other structures. Old crates, barrels and similar wooden items can also be found. Reclaimed wood often has a rustic, distressed look that many find charming. It makes a beautiful addition to any number of home improvement projects, including flooring, siding, cabinetry and even in your landscape (for instance, you can use an old barrel for rainwater collection).
2. Clay paint. It’s amazing what a simple coat of fresh paint can do to spruce up a room, but most commercial paints are anything but natural. Even many of the ones marketed as “environmentally friendly” and “zero VOC” are full of petrochemicals and usually not biodegradable. They also create a non-breathable, plastic-like coating on your walls. Clay paint is a healthy and eco-friendly alternative made from clay, earth pigments and other natural ingredients. It is breathable, nontoxic and less energy-intensive to produce than latex paints. It is available in a rainbow of colors from earth tones to brights. Clay paint provides a characteristic soft, matte surface with a subtle glowing appearance reminiscent of old frescoes. There are quite a few brands of clay paint available on the market, or you can make your own. Check out using green earth friendly paint for some more ideas!
3. Salvaged hardware. Like reclaimed wood, salvaged hardware is material that was used previously. These materials include everything from old doorknobs to antique light fixtures. Salvaged hardware items often have historic significance and antique charm. If you are renovating an older home, they can help maintain the original ambiance of your building. Salvaged hardware pieces can also add interest to a modern design.
4. Recycled roofing. Rubber sheet roofing is often used on flat-top commercial buildings because of its durability and superior waterproofing. However, did you know you can enjoy the same advantages for your home, while still maintaining the classic appearance of a shingle roof? Recycled rubber roof shingles have the look of traditional slate or shake tiles, but are made from old carpets, tires and similar items that would otherwise have gone to the landfill. These highly durable units are much cheaper to purchase and install, lighter in weight, and more resistant to freeze-thaw and wind damage than real slate, as well as being environmentally responsible.
5. Perforated metal. In green design circles, perforated metal is one of today’s hottest trends. Perforated metal offers the advantages of light and air permeability, lightweight design, recyclability, durability, material conservation and energy efficiency. Most perforated metal products also contain a high percentage of recycled material. One great use of perforated metal is as energy-efficient privacy screening. Installed outside your patio or as window shutters, the metal absorbs the fierce heat of the summer sun but allows cool air and a large amount of light to pass through. It also helps to reduce noise intrusion from outside because the perforations break up sound waves. Perforated metal screens, grates and panels can be used as stair treads, dividers, trellises and in many other ways as well — consider them an invitation to get creative!
For more great suggestions, ideas and tips:
- 3 Ideas To Decorate Your the Green & Healthy Way!
- 4 Green Living Tips To Make Your Home Healthy & Eco-Friendly!
Incorporating any of these green building materials into your next home improvement project will green up your home at the same time as improving its comfort level and appearance. Why not start planning your next project today?
Author bio: Damon Henrikson is Director of Marketing at Accurate Perforating Company. Henrikson brings over 10 years of experience in the manufacturing industry and over five years of experience specifically within the perforated metal space. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Accurate Perforating Company produces a variety of metal products for commercial use.
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