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14 Eco-Friendly Ways To Remodel Your Home (Sustainability Guide)

Updated September 27, 2021
Chad Hanson
Chad Hanson

As the Managing General Partner at Sustainable 9 Design + Build, Chad is responsible for establishing the vision and strategy for our clients. What helps separate Chad from other visionaries in the home building sector is his ability to create a unique customer service experience that is both highly personalized and encourages collaboration. Chad’s experience and expertise in the field makes him a pleasure to work with and an all-around expert in Minnesota Modern.

Remodeling a home is a huge project, and there are lots that go into it, especially when trying to remodel your home in an eco-friendly way. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can make sustainable and eco-friendly remodeling choices for your home.

At Sustainable 9, we’re all about sustainable and smart building that puts low energy use, smart building decisions, and modern features at the center of our designs.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Ways to Remodel Your Home

Remodels are just like any other building project, and they offer a lot of opportunities for the same sustainable choices to be made. One of the areas that most homeowners consider going eco-friendly is with their household appliances and HVAC systems.

But, as you’ll see, that’s not the only way to make your home eco-friendly and sustainable. In fact, it might not even be the best way.

Choose Reclaimed Materials

Any reclaimed materials are great for keeping your home eco-friendly and sustainable. Reduce, reuse, and recycle is the best way to make the most of different materials and to build a beautiful and unique home. Some of the products you might consider reclaiming could include wood floors, wood paneling, windows, doors, bricks, and other similar items.

Reclaiming products for your house isn’t too difficult, and you can normally find some great resources or products simply by Googling what you’re looking for.

Reface Old Furniture

refacing furniture

Old furniture can give your remodeled or new home a sense of nostalgia. We love refacing old furniture and giving it new life in a modern eco-friendly home. There are several different furniture pieces that are easier than others to reface, but wood furniture will almost always be the best.

Tables, chairs, dressers, vanities, and other similar wood furniture items will look great after a bit of sanding and some fresh stain or paint. Either way you decide to do it, just match your style, and it will turn out great.

Reface Your Cabinets

Just like wood furniture, cabinets can be a great item to reface and reuse in your home. Whether you’re bringing new life to your kitchen or just trying to change things up a little bit, your cabinets can make a huge difference. The best part about painting or restaining your cabinets is that they can look like new when you’re finished.

Another thing that many homeowners will do to breathe new life into their kitchen is change out the hardware. Your handles and knobs for both doors and drawers can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your kitchen. Better than just buying them new, try finding second hand hardware!

Choose Low Maintenance, Long-Lasting Materials

Look for materials that will last a long time and won’t require a ton of upkeep. You don’t want to be spending all your free time repairing or replacing something in your eco-friendly home. You want eco-friendly items that will last a long time with little to no maintenance.

These more durable options will be sustainable in nature because they’ll last for years or decades on end, and you won’t need to replace them. Examples of low maintenance, long-lasting materials include high-quality windows, doors, furniture, or energy-efficient appliances.

Insulate Your Home Well

Insulation is one of the best choices you can make for your home, and it will have a huge impact on your home’s overall performance. Proper insulation will not only save you money on your energy bills, but it will also help to keep you comfortable during dramatic temperature changes.

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If you want a more sustainable option for insulation, you can use recycled items like denim jeans. Using old clothing to insulate your home is eco-friendly and very cost-effective. The best part about eco-friendly insulation is that it will keep you warm and cozy but won’t cost a ton of money. Be sure to look into all your options for different types of insulation and the benefits.

Consider Solar or Renewable Energy

eco-friendly remodeling with solar panels

Solar panels and other renewable energy sources are one of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly. They can help you save money and reduce your impact on the environment. In some cases, you might even be able to make a little bit of money through net metering practices.

Solar panels are a great option if you want to go renewable but don’t have a ton of money because you can buy them in small batches. A full solar panel system requires a bit of an investment, but the money saved and the value stored in them can help you save a lot over time. Other renewable energy sources such as wind or geothermal are great options but aren’t nearly as popular.

Use Low VOC Paints and Stains

When it comes to eco-friendly remodeling, paint and stains are often overlooked. There are a ton of different options available at your local paint store, but sometimes few of them are low VOC. VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds are solvent-based chemicals in small quantities in many water-based paints and coatings. While they might aid in making a better paint or stain, they can cause a lot of harm to those living in the homes where they’re used.

Instead of just using any old paint that you find, talk to your hardware or paint stores about some of the benefits of using a more “all-natural” type of paint. Many paint ingredients such as benzene and methylene chloride have been known to cause diseases such as cancer. Staying away from those when you can, is great for you and your family’s health.

Consider Purchasing Used Materials 

When it comes to remodeling, buying new is often a great option, and it’s normally what homeowners want to do. New items can be made with sustainable materials and eco-friendly practices, however, buying used saves money and is much more earth-conscious.

If you want to save money while remodeling, buying used is a great way to do it. Used items often still have a lot of life left in them, and sometimes there’s nothing wrong with them at all. But finding the right items can be hard and takes some practice. With a little time and some luck, you can find great used items. Try looking at garage sales, getting out to the thrift stores early, or finding some second hand stores in your area.

Install Energy-Efficient Appliances

eco-friendly appliances

As with insulation, appliances are something that most homeowners don’t even think about when it comes to eco-friendly remodeling. At home, you use a lot of energy and resources, which older appliances can use a lot of

When remodeling, you’ll have the opportunity to pick out some new appliances a lot of times. If you’re looking for eco-friendly options, look into some of the newer appliances on the market. Many modern appliances are highly efficient and don’t use nearly as much energy or water.

Install Low-Flow Toilets

Low-flow toilets use less water per flush and are great for the environment because of it.

Toilets use a lot of water, so replacing older toilets with newer low-flow ones can make a great impact. These types of toilets are available at most hardware stores and cost about the same as their water-guzzling counterparts, so there’s no reason not to upgrade or install them when you build.

Purchase Local Materials

Purchasing local materials can help cut down on the general carbon emissions from your project. When you purchase things made locally, the impacts of production are much less severe compared to buying things from a retailer that’s further away.

Sometimes you’ll be able to save money as well. Shipping costs can be high, so avoiding them by buying materials from local sources is a huge win-win for your project.

Install Energy-Efficient Lighting 

energy efficient lighting

Energy-efficient lighting is another eco-friendly option that’s often overlooked. Replacing older bulbs with newer, more efficient ones can make a huge impact on the environment. When installing fixtures and different lighting sources, look for LED fixtures or lights that can get the job done while using less energy.

One of the biggest contributors to global warming is carbon emissions, and lighting makes up about 18% of a home’s carbon emissions. By replacing older light sources with more efficient ones, you can reduce this number significantly.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors

Windows and doors can have a huge impact on your heating and cooling costs. The number one place that both warm and cool air exits and enters your home are through the windows and doors. Installing energy-efficient windows and doors, especially when you replace them, is a great way to save money on your heating and cooling bills.

While both windows and doors are more expensive when made efficiently, the upfront cost will save you loads of money in the long run.

Air-Seal Your Home

Air-sealing is an important practice that takes place on a lot of high-end new builds. When a home is air-sealed, specific measures are taken to keep air and keep outside air out. A lot of energy escapes from a poorly sealed house, and it can cause higher energy bills. By air sealing your home, you’ll be able to keep the inside climate-controlled and save money on your heating and cooling costs.

There are many ways beyond these tips that work to ensure that your home is 100% energy-efficient and ready for temperature changes and energy consumption. You’d be surprised at how much money you can save when you’re careful and don’t just buy the cheapest option. A little more money upfront can save a lot.

If you’re interested in learning more about the different eco-friendly and sustainable ways that we remodel and build homes here at Sustainable 9, be sure to check out our website. We’d be happy to help you find the right resources or help you build your next home.

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Chad Hanson
Chad Hanson

As the Managing General Partner at Sustainable 9 Design + Build, Chad is responsible for establishing the vision and strategy for our clients. What helps separate Chad from other visionaries in the home building sector is his ability to create a unique customer service experience that is both highly personalized and encourages collaboration. Chad’s experience and expertise in the field makes him a pleasure to work with and an all-around expert in Minnesota Modern.

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GREEN STATS

62%

More energy efficient than a standard new construction home* *based on HERS ratings

0%

0% Stinky. Committed to - reducing or eliminating VOCs and toxins in the homes we build* *Receiving the EPA's Indoor AirPlus certification on every home we build

70%

Tighter and less leaky than a standard new construction home* *based on blower door test/air leakage results

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