Happy the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Home improvement and remodeling has played a huge impact on the environment we live in. To honor Earth Day, we put together 10 sustainable practices below for home improvement and remodeling.
- Donate your unwanted goods to whom may need them.
Habitat ReStores are home improvement stores that accept small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials and more. Proceeds from the sales of these items help Habitat’s work in your community and around the world.
2. Start off with eco-friendly paint by choosing low VOC or 0-VOC paints.
VOC stands for volatile organic compound–any of several chemical additives found in numerous consumer products. Because they’re volatile, these compounds vaporize and emit gasses, even long after they’ve dried. Paint, for example, emits only half of its VOCs in the first year. look for paints that are no- or low-VOCs. For paint to actually call itself “low-VOC,” the EPA requires that it have no more than 250 grams per liter (g/l) of VOCs for flat and latex paint–oil-based paints can have up to 380 g/l. (Some places, like California, have even stricter standards.) To call itself VOC-free, paint can have no more than 5 g/l of VOCs. If you are concerned because you have small children or chemical sensitivities, consider a paint that has the Green Seal label or Green Guard on it. These paints have no cancer-causing agents, reproductive toxins, or heavy metals
3. Get tile with recycled content.
Whether it’s used for flooring, backsplashes, or countertops, recycled tile can be beautiful, durable, and fire resistant. It doesn’t off-gas dangerous VOCs, absorb pollutants, or harbor allergens.
4. Get insulation that’s not fiberglass with formaldehyde.
Fiberglass is one of the most common choices for insulation because of its affordability and fire resistance. It’s also fairly easy to install. Yet with all of its attractions, it’s also known to cause respiratory complications and skin irritation. It’s also not particularly kind to the environment because it can’t be recycled and takes more energy to produce than its Eco-friendly counterparts. Click here to find alternative non-fiberglass insulation options.
5. Choose cabinets that are made with sustainably harvested wood.
The certification of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures that the wood products are obtained from responsibly harvested forests.
7. Select plumbing that is WaterSense rated.
WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party certification and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. When you use these water–saving products in your home, you can expect exceptional performance, savings on your water bills, and assurance that you are saving water for future generations.
8. Appliances that are Energy Star rated.
ENERGY STAR certified appliances help consumers save money on operating costs by reducing energy use without sacrificing performance.
9. Install a water filter faucet in your kitchen to get away from single-use plastic water bottles.
10. And last but not least, another big part of sustainability is buying quality, durable products that are going to last so you’re not just buying a cheap thing that’s not going to last.
Happy Earth Day
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