Beginning to plan a home remodeling project is an exciting endeavor. But no matter the space you’re giving a facelift to, the number of decisions can be immobilizing. It’s important to lean into what’s most important to you to focus your decision-making and really, to know where to begin. Eco-friendly architecture and design have been increasingly important to homeowners looking to remodel in today’s market. Focusing your remodeling choices here will add value to your home in more ways than one. And it all starts with your materials.
When working on your home remodel project, you’ll want to consider using eco-friendly building materials where possible. These materials not only help to reduce the impact on the environment. But, they can also open your eyes to new design features and unique elements to incorporate into your space.
Eco-Friendly Materials go Beyond Sustainability
Sustainable materials and eco-friendly materials both fall under the umbrella of green architecture. While they’re both great choices when planning a home remodel, there are some important and notable differences between the two. Being aware of these differences can help you make the best decisions for your individual project when it comes time to choose the materials you’ll be using.
Sustainable materials generally have high standards. They may use a rating system or be certified in some way or another based on their environmentally-friendly qualities. For example, sustainable materials are usually locally sourced, are made with renewable energy, and can be disposed of in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment.
The definition of eco-friendly materials, on the other hand, is broader. Some materials considered eco-friendly are also sustainable, but this isn’t always the case. Eco-friendly is more of an umbrella term for any building materials or construction methods that prioritize not harming the earth and natural environment.
The Professionals You Need for an Eco-Friendly Materials Remodel
Remodeling your home already can be overwhelming. Adding another goal, like deciding to use eco-friendly materials in your project, could feel daunting. However, it will also give you a guide and direction to your planning. Plus, the past few years have brought about more and more eco-friendly remodels. This means there are a lot more resources at your disposal. Additionally, there are plenty of experienced professionals in the architecture, design, and construction industries that can help you make the best decisions for your personal home improvement needs.
Working with a professional when designing a space that uses eco-friendly materials has many advantages. They can open your eyes to new uses for materials, and help you source the supplies you need to make your vision for your remodel come to life. Experienced professionals in the industry can help match up the design you have in mind with existing materials they can help you access. When looking for architects and designers to help you with your remodel project, look for ones with experience in green remodels and eco-friendly design.
Types of Eco-Friendly Materials
The rise in popularity green design and architecture has experienced in recent years has meant the variety and availability of eco-friendly materials has increased dramatically. This is great news for your renovation project. From construction materials like concrete and insulation to decorative accents, and furniture; the wide range of eco-friendly materials you have access to means you can create a home that fits your desired style while still reducing the impact you have on the planet.
Eco-Friendly Concrete Alternatives
Concrete was called “the most destructive material on Earth” in an article published by The Guardian in 2019, which also states its production is responsible for 4-8% of the world’s CO2. By using alternatives to concrete, you can be part of the lessoning of this impact.
Hempcrete, for example, is an alternative to concrete that uses fibers from hemp plants, a renewable resource. Not only are the materials used to make hempcrete better for the environment than those in concrete, but the material also transports easier due to the lightweight yet sturdy blocks it can be formed into.
Then, ashccete uses fly ash to create a concrete-like material by utilizing the waste from burning coal. Ashcrete is very durable and a great option for many home renovations.
Finally, timbercrete uses a mix of concrete and sawdust to create a durable, lightweight material that reduces carbon emissions because of its ease of transportation. It can be used to create bricks, tiles, and more.
Eco-Friendly Materials for Insulation
Most modern-day insulation materials, like fiberglass, are less-than-friendly to the environment. When looking for eco-friendly materials, wool and straw insulation offer great functional alternatives. They’re fantastic insulators that use renewable resources to keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Additionally, they’re useful in a wide range of climates and not restricted to moderate areas.
Recycled Materials for Your Remodel
Next, reusing existing materials recycled into something new reduces the new materials you’re putting into the environment with your remodel project. For example, recycled plastics and glass can be formed into countertops and more. Then, recycled wood can be given new life in the form of built-ins, shelves, or even flooring. Working with a designer can help you see old materials in new ways. Quickly, you’ll find you’re able to create a space full of unique features you’ll love.
Choosing the Right Eco-Friendly Materials for a Bathroom Renovation
If you’re remodeling your bathroom, your options for eco-friendly materials are nearly endless. Recycled tiles or tiles made from clay or ceramic materials are all great for shower walls and bathroom floors. They also make a great alternative to vinyl, which is a notoriously non-eco-friendly material. You might also consider using recycled wood or plastic material for your vanity. Then, you also have options with reclaimed or recycled porcelain sinks or sink material. If you want something unique, glass countertops–made from recycled glass bottles–add a one-of-a-kind shine to any bathroom remodel.
What Eco-Friendly Materials Belong in Your Kitchen Remodel
Renovating your kitchen? Having a functional, durable kitchen space is essential. Eco-friendly materials can help you create exactly that. Kitchen floors made of reclaimed floorboards or recycled wood materials add character and are a great alternative to vinyl tiles. Ceramic backsplashes are another great eco-friendly option: check to see if you can source them from local artisans or makers. Once again, recycled glass countertops are a great choice for the kitchen, too.
The Best Eco-Friendly Building Materials for an ADU Construction
Many homeowners are taking advantage of the benefits that an accessory dwelling unit can bring. If you’re considering building an ADU, whether as a guest house, rental, or for another use, considering eco-friendly materials is a great option. If you’re planning for an ADU short-term rental, having an eco-friendly structure helps to leverage higher rates. From the kitchen to the bathroom to the structure itself (rammed earth walls, perhaps?), using eco-friendly materials in your ADU design is a decision you won’t regret.
Eco-Friendly Doesn't Need to be Restrictive
A common misconception about eco-friendly building materials is they’re restrictive. Homeowners often think eco-friendly materials won’t match the style of their home. Or they may believe the options available are limiting. But today, the abundance of eco-friendly choices on the market means you’ll be able to find materials to suit any taste. Designers and architects can use their expertise to help you select materials that’ll work for your design and your family’s needs.