If you’ve done any sort of research at all about home renovation trends, you’ve likely come across the term “green architecture”. Green architecture is a design that takes into account how to best create an efficient, eco-conscious home when conducting a remodel, renovation, or new build. But before you consider bringing new materials into your remodeling plan, no matter how environmentally friendly they are, it’s important to evaluate what you already have. Taking a look at what materials from your existing spaces can be salvaged is a great first step. After all, using what you already have is the most environmentally conscious decision you can take in your renovation.
But don’t think that just because you’re reusing existing features or details means you can’t achieve the home of your dreams. You’ll be amazed how the pieces you salvage–or pick up used from friends or resale shops–can be transformed to fit your vision. Plus, anything you don’t use can be resold, donated, or recycled, rather than be tossed out in the demolition process.
Begin Your Remodeling Plan with a Deconstruction Process
When you’re intending to salvage materials from your home pre-remodel, demolition isn’t exactly what you want to go for. Instead, you need a deconstruction process. Making deconstruction the first step of your remodel plan means you’ll be avoiding sledgehammers and instead carefully removing as much as possible so you can resell, reuse and recycle the pieces. This creates a blank canvas for your renovation without the waste of demolition.
Look for a contractor who has deconstruction experience when you’re making your home remodel plans. You may also be able to conduct some of the deconstruction yourself, such as removing lighting fixtures or other features. Just make sure you disconnect any necessary electrical or water supplies before starting to work on the space.
Deconstruction usually takes more time than demolition due to the care it takes. It can also be more expensive to have completed, due to this increased time and the necessary work that goes into the process. However, deconstruction saves you money in the long run. You can resell the pieces you remove or incorporate them into your remodel project.
Evaluate What You Can Resell, Reuse and Recycle
Almost everything you’re removing from your home to prepare for remodeling can be repurposed in some capacity, as long as it’s removed carefully enough and you think creatively! From reselling, reusing yourself, donating, or recycling, you can feel good about your renovation when you conduct it in a way that reduces waste.
Appliances are Great for Resale
If you’re getting new appliances for your kitchen, consider reselling your old ones. Even if they’re outdated, you can get some cash for your unwanted dishwasher, refrigerator, or oven. Remove appliances carefully to prevent damaging them. Then, you can list them on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You might also find a local appliance store that offers credit for used appliances. As an added bonus, they’ll likely pick them up for free. If all else fails, you can always donate your appliances to a thrift store that accepts them, or to a charity that builds or remodels homes, like Habitat for Humanity. You can also consider selling appliances that no longer work at a scrap metal collection facility. Regardless, your old appliances don’t need to end up in a landfill.
Fixtures Can be Reused or Donated Easily
Fixtures such as lighting elements and faucets can usually be removed easily after the water or power supply is disconnected. You can reuse these items in your newly remodeled space, or sell them to a resale or consignment shop. These are also great items to donate if you just want to get them off your hands.
Flooring is Great for Repurposing or even Resale
Does the room you’re renovating have a wood or tile floor you plan on replacing? If removed carefully, both can be reused or sold. Maybe you have another room in your house, like a basement, that you can upgrade with your old flooring from your main living area. Wood flooring can also be used to build shelves or other pieces of furniture. These items are also in high demand at resale shops if you can’t find a use for them yourself.
If you’re removing carpet as part of your remodel, you can still find creative ways to use the discarded material. Cut up old carpet to use as a scratching post for the family cat. You can even cut and repurpose it for floor mats to protect your car.
Donating Your Doors as Part of Your Remodeling Plan
Many home remodel projects include opening up a space and creating a more open floor plan. This often includes door removals. These are great for being sold or donated! If you’re including hinges or doorknobs with the door, securely attach any loose parts to the door itself in a plastic bag to keep everything together. Many resale shops or donation centers will come to pick up large items like doors so you don’t have to transport them yourself.
Have Fun With Repurposing as You Reuse and Recycle
Get creative with the items you use in your home renovation. Start by stopping at consignment shops or thrift stores like Goodwill on the hunt for unique options. New items are constantly popping up and you never know when you’ll come across the perfect find. Also, look for local swap meets or garage sale events to attend. For example, you may find a small dresser that would make a perfect place to store towels and other linens in your remodeled bathroom. Use your imagination: it’s amazing what some cleaning spray, a fresh coat of paint, and some new drawer pulls can do.
Choose Recycled Materials in Your Remodel
A great way to implement the principles of green architecture in your remodel is to consider choosing recycled materials. You can use recycled plastic, wood, and other recycled materials to make both countertops and flooring. Reusing materials from other people’s home renovations is another great option. Check local resale shops, flea markets, and online selling sites. You may not be able to find an exact match to the piece you’ve envisioned but keep an open mind! You may find something even better. Not only will using recycled or reused materials save you money in most cases, but you can also find some truly unique items that will add character to your home. Cupboards, trim, and other pieces removed from older homes often have one-of-a-kind details that will make your home remodel shine.
Remember Why You Want to Reuse and Recycle in Your Remodeling Plan
The process of reusing and recycling materials in your remodeling plan takes planning and prep but is very worth it. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also feel good about your decisions. The planet will thank you for making eco-conscious decisions in your home renovation.