6 Interior Remodeling Projects That Have a Low Impact on the Environment
Climate change is a primary consideration in 2020. Before acting, many people stop and second guess the impact their decisions will have on the environment. The real estate world is no exception. Therefore, if you are planning some upcoming interior renovations, choose the following remodeling projects to limit your home’s impact on the environment.
1. Tear Down the Walls
Not only is tearing down walls to create open spaces a popular trend due to the inviting atmosphere it creates, but it is environmentally-friendly because it allows natural light to flow more freely, reducing the need for electric lights.
If you are concerned tearing down the wall in areas such as the kitchen will reduce the surface area for mounting cabinets, consider open shelves and handrail options for the perimeter walls, as well as cubbies beneath islands and bars. Not only can this provide some much-needed storage space, but the open-faced nature of these structures matches well with the sprawling ambiance.
2. Install Smart Windows
Gone are the days of the single-pane window that cracks easily and offers little more than a sieve against ambient weather. Modern smart windows are not only layered to ensure elite insulation, but they can change their light transmission properties based on the temperature, allowing for more heat radiation in colder weather and light-only rays during the summer months.
3. Replace Cold Flooring
Popular floor materials, such as hardwood and tile, provide a classy finish and increase your home’s resale value. However, these are notoriously cold, with many homeowners having to increase their HVAC use to feel cozy on these surfaces in the winter.
A more environmentally-friendly alternative may be to pair vinyl flooring with a radiant floor heating system. These innovative floors are nearly indistinguishable from natural products and do not release the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for which some synthetic products are known. In addition, radiant floor heating can help keep the floors at a consistent temperature without having to draw on the HVAC system.
Another relevant consideration is vinyl requires a fraction of the natural resources to fabricate when compared to the deforestation concerns that accompany natural wood floors.
4. Choose Non-Porous Countertops
A great way to make your home environmentally-friendly is by building with products known to last. By frequently repairing and replacing damaged materials, you are consuming energy and other natural resources, making set-it-and-forget-it options the preferred choice.
Modern kitchen countertops, such as manufactured quartz and acrylic solid surface, are nonporous and durable enough to withstand tensile blows. This ensures no staining, mold buildup, or cracking will undermine your counters and require energy-consuming attention a few years down the road.
5. Make Your Bathroom Industrial
On a per-square-foot basis, no area of the home gets as much traffic as the bathroom. The frequent coming-and-going, along with the daily grime known to accumulate, can make the restroom one of the most resource-intensive areas of the home to clean and maintain.
One way to help mitigate these concerns is by making the bathroom industrial. The industrial bathroom rose to prominence as a means of servicing hundreds of factory workers during the industrial revolution and has recently experienced a renaissance on a residential level, thanks to its rugged, low-maintenance charm. Some hallmarks of this design include durable tile on the floor and walls, exposed pipes, and prominent industrial plumbing fixtures.
6. Add Filters to the Sink Faucets
As a means of reducing waste, consider adding low-flow filters to your sink faucets. Not only can such filters limit the amount of water used during cooking and cleaning, but they can improve the taste of tap water and reduce plastic waste stemming from bottled water consumption.
Many contemporary real estate trends have seen an increased focus on making the home more environmentally-friendly. If you are considering interior remodeling projects, ideas such as tearing down walls to open up natural light flow, replacing cold flooring, and converting to a low-maintenance, industrial bathroom are some excellent ways to lower your home’s impact on the environment.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.