Green Ways to Update Your Home – guest post by Emma Joyce

The formula is simple: the less energy you consume, the more money you will save. Therefore, it’s easy to see the value and benefits of improving your home to be more environmentally friendly. By choosing to remodel your home, you’re already making a green choice, and by incorporating eco-friendly updates, however small, you’re giving a generous contribution to the preservation of our planet.

It may sound intimidating to do a complete green renovation of your home, but there are budget-friendly updates you can do around the house that will transform it into a greener and more energy efficient home.

Efficient bathroom updates

One of the best ways to make your bathroom more efficient is to install sustainable water and plumbing systems. Almost 30% of the entire water consumption in a household goes to the toilet, and by switching to a low-volume, dual flush mechanism, as well as to low-flow fixtures, you can significantly cut both your water and electricity bills by as much as 50%.

In addition, when you’re choosing your sink basin and hardware, go for natural ceramic and non-toxic cement. As the final touch, make sure you do your painting work with low VOC paint to minimize any harmful gas emissions.

Sustainability on a budget

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Contrary to general opinion, renovating your home in a sustainable way isn’t necessarily expensive. Recycling and repurposing are a huge part of a green mindset as they prevent unnecessary purchases and promote the preservation of natural resources. In addition, many natural products are also more durable and effective than non-eco-friendly materials.

You’ll make enormous savings by shopping locally for pre-owned and handmade materials and products, and by re-facing rather than replacing materials in your own home. Before you start your renovation, think about what you can deconstruct and repurpose instead of demolishing and throwing away, such as an old, massive oak dining room table, butcher block for countertops or salvaged, rustic cabinets from an old farmhouse. With a sustainable mindset, you can reduce your waste, minimize your footprint and save money long term.

Moreover, you can save money by rearranging and upholstering your existing furniture.  And if you still need new pieces, consider buying affordable furniture that is practical and functional instead of going for the latest trends, as that’s always very expensive. Pick one or two comfortable and stylish pieces, such as a sofa or a pair of comfy armchairs, that will blend in well with your existing décor and your room will instantly be more welcoming and inviting.

LED lighting

One of the crucial steps in going green and energy efficient in your home is switching your traditional, incandescent light bulbs with energy star-rated LEDs. Their main advantage is that they use up to 75% less energy and have a longer life span.

Moreover, by installing light dimmers in your living room, you can also reduce your electricity bill by almost £40 a year. Contact your local council about installing sustainable power sources such as solar panels or wind turbines, and see if there are any available funds or grants for financing your updates.

Green kitchen improvements

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A green kitchen design unifies the principle of healthy living with the concept of energy efficiency as it uses non-toxic materials as its basic tool. From flooring to cabinetry, these products most often contain various glues, paints, sealants and coatings that emit gases and toxins over a longer period of time.

When you design your kitchen, it’s recommended you opt for a more classic and timeless look for several reasons: it will stay fashionable always so you won’t have to do a costly remodel any time soon, and you’ll avoid waste build-up by having to rip out and replace all the materials.

Going green doesn’t mean you need to necessarily give up on style. For instance, a stone backsplash is many homeowners’ favourite final design touch. You can opt for rock panels for your stacked stone background as they use natural stone sealer and have a more durable finish.

Finally, when updating your kitchen appliances, look out for Energy Star labels that guarantee the energy efficiency of your appliances. When you pick your sustainable appliances, bear in mind that it also makes a difference where you place them. For instance, it’s advisable you put your refrigerator away from direct sunlight in order to optimize its energy-saving abilities.

Making a decision to renovate your home in an eco-friendly way will not only help the environment, but it will allow you to make a serious saving while enjoying a healthy home.

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