A kitchen or bathroom renovation is an opportunity to update the look of your home, but it can also increase energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Eco-friendly renovations can involve simple changes or a complete overhaul of the space, plus they have the potential to increase your home’s resale value immensely. Luckily, you won’t have to wait to enjoy the benefits of a renovation either; lower utility bills and a healthier home for your family are immediate perks of making green choices for your renovations.
Green Your Kitchen, From the Floor Up. In addition to being a green option, eco-friendly flooring is beautiful and functional as well. Replace kitchen floors with either cork or bamboo flooring as both are great choices for easy DIY installation.
Cork flooring is a sustainable material that is also mold and mildew-resistant, which makes it a healthy and hypoallergenic choice. Since people tend to spend a lot of time on their feet when in kitchens, cork makes for a more comfortable cooking experience because of its spongy feel.
Bamboo flooring is another great choice that is both sustainable and beautiful. It makes a great replacement for hardwood flooring which is a less readily renewable resource.
Reclaim and Reuse. Reclaimed wood and metal can add texture and color to your kitchen or bathroom. Wood can be used for cabinets, ceilings and accents throughout the kitchen as well as in bathrooms. Salvaged metal is less frequently considered but can work beautifully to add character to both modern and classic décor.
Reusing pieces salvaged from previous homes is another great way to incorporate a green touch to your remodel. Salvaged sinks make a statement in both the kitchen and the bathroom. Doorknobs and pulls salvaged from older homes make a statement while simultaneously reducing waste. You can also replace the plain mirror in your bathroom with an older piece featuring a stylish frame.
Simple DIY Changes Reduce Utility Bills. Saving on your water and energy bills can be accomplished with a few simple updates.
Replacing the toilets, faucets, and showerheads in the bathroom with options that use less water is one of the easiest ways to decrease water bills. Today’s low-flow toilets function better than those of the past, or you can consider a dual flush toilet that uses more water only when it’s needed. Showerheads use a lot of water, but choosing one that adds air to the water can give you the pressure you need in your daily shower without waste.
Save on your electric bill by installing new switches throughout the kitchen and bathroom. A timer switch for the bathroom fan ensures it won’t run all day, while dimmer switches for lights prevent you from being blinded at night while also allowing you to utilize less energy when you don’t need bright light.
Use Recycled Materials. Recycled glass makes beautiful new countertops that range from cool, modern hues to more traditional looks. Choose from solid slabs for kitchen and bathroom counters to recycled tiles that are perfect for a backsplash, around the tub, or for bathroom floors and counters. Installing a recycled tile backsplash is an easy DIY project that quickly updates a room.
Metals are also highly recyclable. Choose recycled metal hardware for kitchen cabinets or for lighting fixtures; replacing these items is easy even for less skilled do-it-yourselfers and can completely change the look of your kitchen and bathroom.
Author Biography: Jack Wade has over 25 years of experience of consulting and writing in the field of home design, construction and renovations. He regularly shares his knowledge with a variety of online publications, including Copper Sinks Online and Artisan Crafted Lighting. Find him on Google+ & Twitter.