• How To Renovate with Sustainability in Mind

  • As citizens of the world, it is imperative that we think ahead and consider sustainability when making purchasing decisions. Natural resources are finite, and ecosystems are fragile. Humans should make a conscious effort to use these materials wisely to preserve them and our planet. Let’s make every day Earth Day! Below are just some of the ways you can join the movement. 

    A Home Renovation is Typically More Sustainable than a New Build 

    If you are weighing renovating a home against purchasing a new home built from the ground up, we can tell you that renovating a home is typically more sustainable than a new build. This is because a renovation considers existing structures that can be reused, decreasing the use of new materials and labor. Which means that you end up saving money, too.  

    When it comes to kitchen cabinets, through a process called cabinet refacing, you can often reuse existing cabinet boxes and simply change out doors, paint color or stain, and hardware for a whole new look.  

    Cabinet refacing using shaker-style cabinet doors, a new paint color, and new hardware. | The Cabinet Doctors 

    Hired Licensed Professionals with Positive Reviews  

    A do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) project can be fun for those who have the time to conduct research, develop a plan, and carry out the renovation. But the truth is, many D.I.Y. projects turn out inferior to the craftsmanship of a skilled tradesperson. Not getting it right the first-time wastes time, energy, and materials.  

    However, not all home renovation businesses are alike. You want to hire a professional that you can be confident will do an excellent job from start to finish. This is why it is important to browse their website and read authentic customer reviews through websites such as Yelp. A true professional will give you the long-lasting results you want and do justice for the amount of money you contribute to the project.  

    Additionally, hiring a locally owned business is more sustainable because materials are often locally sourced or fabricated, leaving less of a carbon footprint, a measurement that calculates how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere by the actions we take. This is because materials that are locally sourced travel shorter distances and use less fuel in transportation. Greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for damaging our ozone layer and are said to be responsible for global warming as these gases trap heat from the sun. 

    Install New Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting  

    Many older appliances and electrical units were not built with sustainability in mind and are much less efficient than models available today. This is why we advise upgrading your appliances and lighting as part of your renovation.  

    Introduced in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), appliances that earn the Energy Star certification are held against strict energy efficiency regulations. Identify and choose appliances with the Energy Star logo to be sure that the appliance was manufactured under the guidelines upheld by the EPA.  

    In California, solar panels must be installed on the roofs of newly built homes. Even though they are not typically required as part of a home renovation, you may still want to consider adding the feature. While there is an upfront cost, solar panels help save energy and electricity costs in the long run. Explore Tesla’s solar roof, if you would like a solution that is more refined and concealed versus traditional solar panels.

    When it comes to your home lighting, a simple, environmentally friendly change is to install LED lightbulbs. With old incandescent light bulbs (invented by Thomas Edison), there is a considerable amount of energy lost to heat while nearly 100% of the energy generated from LED bulbs is visible light. An LED light bulb of the same brightness (lumens) as an incandescent bulb uses considerably less energy. That is why a 6-10 watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. 

    A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), incandescent, and LED light bulb. The LED bulb is the most efficient of the three.

    Natural Finishes are More Sustainable  

    Natural wood with minimal finishes is inherently more sustainable. Many types of paint release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air which trap heat in our atmosphere over time, leading to global warming or even acid rain. Acid rain can cause erosion of structures and disrupt ecosystems. The processes needed to create paint and its pigments also use up additional energy.  

    With that said, many jurisdictions have regulated VOC-emitting products so that they remain within safe or low VOC levels. Therefore, paint can be used if it suits your style, but paint-free is the more sustainable option of the two! Not to mention, wood in its natural beauty is timeless while many paint colors run the risk of becoming dated.  

    Visit Your Local Vintage or Antique Shop 

    They say, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” What one person no longer wants can truly brighten up the room for another. In this way, we are reusing unwanted things and bringing some green into home decor. A vintage store is a treasure trove for these unique items and worth a visit for the finishing touch to your renovation! You may find that missing piece you’ve been searching for and leave with the good feeling that you’re shopping sustainably!  

    Sustainability with Style  

    We are believers of reusing existing materials. Cabinet refacing is one of our specialties and a service many of our clients request. Our materials are also sustainably and responsibly sourced. We have been in this business for over 30 years and will make sure your project is completed with the utmost care and satisfaction. Let’s start your project by getting an estimate!