What Makes A Home Sustainable?

Sustainability is a term that is broadly used to describe materials and products that meet our current needs without negatively affecting the environment for future generations. If you are looking to add sustainable value to your home, we have a few helpful tips for you in planning your next renovation.

An old bathroom can be a great place to start when creating a more sustainable home. As you are selecting your new bathroom materials, try using a few timeless and durable products, such as recycled glass counters and tiles made from reused bottles. Other innovative companies offer unique wood-textured countertops made from 100% post-consumer paper. If you are looking for less dramatic updates to your bathroom that will also help lower your water bill, look into installing low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads. With water conservation at an all-time high in California, many water utility companies and cities are offering their customers free water-saving home updates, rebates, and tools. Check in with both your local utility company and your city to see if you can save on your next home renovation.

Studies show that your home’s lighting makes up about 25% of your energy budget. Updating light fixtures with more energy-efficient bulbs will not only lessen your carbon footprint, but will also diminish your electricity bill. Two revolutionary energy-efficient bulbs, both of which possess longer-than-average lifespans, are LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights). One great feature of LEDs over incandescent bulbs is that the light is more directional, making them ideal for recessed and under-cabinet lighting. In contrast, CFLs are excellent replacements for your general home lighting needs, such as table and floor lamps, since they offer light that is similar to incandescent bulbs. CFLs are also less expensive than LEDs, but they are more difficult to dispose of because of their mercury content. Before you make any commitments to one particular bulb type, purchase a couple of each to try out. You may gravitate towards one type for certain applications and another type for other uses.

Flooring is also an easy way to improve a room while maintaining an eco-friendly theme. Sustainable flooring materials, like cork and bamboo, are now offered in unique colors, patterns, and applications. Cork is a great insulator that is currently offered in mosaic patterns, ceiling treatments, and even wall tiles. Tile companies have also made their mark in the realm of sustainable flooring by designing tile planks that resemble rare hardwood materials. Reclaimed wood floors are also a popular alternative to more expensive exotic woods. Not only are these flooring options dazzling, but they also have distinct salvage history with materials sourced from old mines, commercial spaces, stadium seats, and even off-cuts from furniture making.

When we think about sustainable living, we often expect both high prices and having to sacrifice the looks we really want. Thanks to advancements in manufacturing and product design, these sacrifices are a thing of the past. We hope you will keep these options in mind when planning your next home renovation.