things for a while now. The main living area wall-to-wall carpet, for instance. It came with the house and has served you well, but you can’t stop worrying about the possibility of chemical treatment off-gassing — especially now that the babies are here. You’d love windows you can sit by without feeling a distinct draft, and a garage door that doesn’t sound like Chewbacca shrieking in pain every time it opens and closes.
It’s increasingly clear that your family’s changing needs aren’t very well addressed in the home as it stands now, and you’re honestly not sure whether renovation or resale is the most effective option going forward.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to make that choice from the get-go. Whether you remodel your current home for increased comfort of form and function or prepare it to stand out competitively on the open market, environmentally friendly renovations aimed at decreasing overall cost of living and protecting your family’s health also carry impressive returns on investment.
Read on to discover the top six.
1. Install sustainable flooring
Go ahead and tear out that questionable carpeting. Even if it’s not treated with toxic chemicals; floor covering microfibers hold dust, dander and allergens no matter how often you vacuum. Consider clean finish options made from sustainable materials. Not only are eco-friendly floor upgrades cost-efficient and environmentally responsible, potential buyers are reportedly willing to pay as much as 3.46 percent more for homes with enhanced green design features.
Bamboo flooring is similar to hardwood but made from a durable grass type that grows to maturity in a speedy three-to-five year cycle. Highly sustainable, bamboo is naturally water and pest resistant, easy to clean and — in its un-carbonized state — strong as red oak.
If you’re looking for a softer flooring possibility with a bit more give to cushion the kids’ first steps, consider cork. Harvested from the bark of a cork oak tree, the product is ground, compressed and formed into sheets bonded with natural resins. Cork is an excellent insulator and provides a natural sound barrier which blocks incessant noise.
2. Seal air leaks
Keep your rooms climate comfortable and help your HVAC system run efficiently by caulking around windows. A one day DIY project, you’ll feel the difference immediately. For moveable components like your front of kitchen door, measure, cut and adhere weather stripping around the top and both sides. Consider a door sweep underneath for added insulation. In a pinch, a rolled up towel works just as well!
3. Update garage door
Your home’s largest moveable component, and the one which is opened and closed most frequently on a daily basis, is the garage door. Covering as much as one-third of the perimeter of your structural footprint, upgrading to an insulated model made with recycled materials is a savvy move.
Sustainable garage doors are more durable than their traditional counterparts due to the high quality of the components used during manufacturing. An extended lifespan, increased home energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs are just a few of the many benefits.
4. Add native landscaping
Enhance curb appeal and minimize lawn care by planting gardens with native varietals. Indigenous plants are well-accustomed to the climate and use less water; they also offer evolved resistance to pests and disease. Adding endemic gardens boosts the regional balance of eco-diversity.
Consider going one step further to create a rain garden. Plant flowers and shrubs in a shallow, bowl-like configuration to naturally collect rainwater. If feasible, direct your gutter spill-off system to drain inside as well.
5. Reduce water use
A great way to extend the conservational bend of your landscaping effort is to reduce indoor water use. The easiest way to accomplish this is to install aerators on faucets and low-flow shower heads in bathrooms.
Consider utilizing collected rainwater in toilets and washing machines. Doing so may reduce household consumption by as much as 50 percent. Boiled rainwater can even be safe to drink in an emergency.
6. Install skylights
Harness the sun’s energy and enhance natural lighting by installing skylights, particularly in interior rooms that may be dark or windowless. Skylights made with sustainable materials include models with movable components to increase ventilation and lower household humidity. EnergyStar certified options offer advanced energy efficiency and, in many cases, the possibility of a federal tax credit or rebate.
You can breathe easy knowing you’ve renovated to make your home healthier, effectively cut living costs and responsibly support global environmental effort. Now the only question, in the peaceful quiet left behind after the garage door update, is — should you stay or should you go?
This is a guest post written by Emily Folk.
Emily is a conservation and sustainability writer.
She is the editor of Conservation Folks, and you can see her latest updates by following her on Twitter.