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How to Create a Sustainable Renovation

Remodeling and choosing materials can be a pain, there are so many options you may not even know where to start. If you’re looking for products that not only look beautiful but are sustainable and durable, continue reading.

One of the most important factors for renovating your home is energy efficiency, this is something especially important in remodels that are striving to be more ecologically friendly. Using equipment that increases efficiency means you are paying less for your utilities, and you are using less natural resources without changing your lifestyle. There are so many ways to go about increasing your energy efficiency; you can install solar panels to lower your electricity, introduce composting, recycle water to use for irrigation, and invest in appliances and plumbing that improve your water usage. For example, a low flow toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water versus a standard toilet that on average uses 7 gallons and a low flow shower head that uses two gallons or less of water per minute. Other appliances, such as newer dishwashers that use less water than handwashing, are also energy saving tools to enhance your home.

Aside from energy efficiency, be sure to look at the sustainability of the materials used when remodeling your home. One of the main features of your home that likely expands all throughout is your flooring. Replacing flooring is expensive, and you will likely need a lot of material, so why not use material that is durable, sustainable, and ethically sourced? Make sure you choose a flooring material that suits your lifestyle, choose floors that can stand the test of time in your home.

One option for sustainable floors is linoleum, it is no longer the outdated material it once was. Not only is linoleum durable, as evident by the countless

houses that still have the original linoleum from the 50’s, but it is also extremely eco-friendly. Linoleum is made up of a mix of sustainable materials, including ground limestone, powdered cork, linseed oil, jute, and wood flour. Modern linoleum floors are beautiful, durable, eco-friendly, and cost effective.

Another eco-friendly option for your floors is bamboo. Bamboo is a hard wood that matures quicker than other hard wood trees, it does not require any fertilizer or pesticides to grow, and bamboo fibers have a natural anti-bacterial coating, meaning we do not have to add additional harsh chemicals to the stalks to help their growth and prevent bacteria from growing. Bamboo is extremely durable, some compare the durability of bamboo to steel, and it is a beautiful replacement to other hardwood floors. However, as with all farming, there are drawbacks to bamboo so be sure to do your research on the brand you wish to use to ensure it is ethically sourced.

Engineered hardwood is another alternative to sustainable flooring. Although it is the most expensive of the three, it does provide a beautiful and classic look to your home while maintaining the durability of regular hardwood floors. Engineered hardwood is essentially a thin layer of hardwood on top with stacks of scrap and recycled wood adhered beneath it. With this type of flooring the amount of hardwood is extremely reduced, which means we get to have the durability of hardwood floors while using less trees. The downside to engineered hardwood is that it cannot be refinished due to the thin layer of hardwood on top, and the price of engineered hardwood is more expensive than other alternatives.

In addition to flooring, an excellent way to implement eco-friendly materials into your remodel is through your countertop selection. Countertops are a large feature in your kitchen or bathroom, and they need to be durable, functional, and water resistant. Similar to its use on your floors, bamboo can be an excellent sustainable choice for countertops. But there are a few other options worth considering as well.

Recycled Paper CountertopsRecycled paper countertops are a more affordable and sustainable option for eco-friendly countertops. These countertops are made from recycled paper that has been mixed with binding resins and natural pigments, then baked at a very high temperature to create a material that is resistant to heat, water, and other elements. While these are an excellent choice in sustainable counters, do keep in mind that they do need to be resealed every once in a while to maintain their non-porous nature. If you are very into rustic touches and upcycling, reclaimed wood can be a great option for you: reusing materials instead of throwing them in landfills is always a more sustainable choice. Reclaimed wood is typically gathered from old structures and has stood the test of time through many elements before entering your home. This wood has had the time to expand and contract until it hardens into it final, sturdier form than its younger counterparts. Unfortunately, reclaimed wood has become increasingly more expensive, and this has lessened the opportunity for reclaimed wood countertops for many homeowners.

You may be looking for a countertop that matches a more modern aesthetic while being somewhat sustainable, in this case, look into Cosentino’s Silestone Quartz. The sunlit days collection is completely carbon neutral and is made with HybriQ Plus technology, which is a sustainable manufacturing process that uses at least 20% recycled glass. Eco Silestone is another collection that uses 70% recycled materials in their countertops. Silestone quartz is very durable, non-porous, and scratch resistant, which makes it an excellent choice in high moisture areas. Regardless of the products you choose, it’s important to do your research on brands to see if they are using ethically sourced and doing their part for eco-friendly materials and manufacturing. Hopefully this helps to lead you to a beautiful and sustainable home that works for you!

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