Since Summer is a a popular time for home renovations and remodeling projects, we wanted to share some tips on using environmentally friendly building materials and supplies. Even if you decide to use a contractor, using materials listed here is a great way to do your part to protect the environment and lessen the carbon footprint. While you’re trying to balance time and budget in your project, use these materials to keep the planet in mind too. Don’t forget to check out the great storage solutions and eco-friendly products offered on the Mixed Bag Designs website.
1. Composite Decking – Composite Decking is made from recycled and/or reclaimed materials, offering a more sustainable alternative to using real hardwood for your garden, porch, or patio. Lots of environmentally friendly synthetic materials are available to use, and you are certain to find something that matches your style with all the choices available. Upkeep is also hassle-free compared to lumbar, which often requires intense cleaning, sanding, and sealing over the years. The company Trex, for example, offers composite decking made from sawdust and recycled plastics and sandwich bags. Composite decking also resists warping and rotting, unlike wood that requires chemical treatments.
2. Bamboo – Bamboo is considered one of the more renewable resources, as it’s one of the fastest growing plants on Earth. Bamboo matures in 3-5 years, while hard woods require 30-50 years! It is durable enough that it doesn’t require pesticides or chemicals to encourage its growth. Bamboo also requires less water than trees. Check out products from the San Francisco based company, Smith & Fong, to see some neat plywood/bamboo material known as “Plyboo”; it can be used for flooring, decks, and even wall panels.
3. Reclaimed Lumbar – For those projects that you need lumbar for, consider using reclaimed lumbar. Many retailers sell reclaimed materials that offer various sizes, colors, and quantities. Not only is it an environmentally sound choice, but will save you some money as well. Also think of looking at reclaimed cabinetry and counter-tops when the time comes to replace them.
4. Recycled Glass – Glass can be suitable for projects like counter top rebuilding and landscaping. Post-consumer industrial glass can be mixed with epoxy resin to form beautiful, colorful designs. Many companies have started created panels made of recycled glass for such projects. A five by nine foot panel of recycled glass can recycle up to 1000 bottles!
5. Sustainable Paints – Eco-minded remodelers now have the option to purchase paints free of harsh paint fumes and excessive chemicals. Try to avoid purchasing paints that contain VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds. Before buying new paints, consider checking out your local hazardous waste facility; they often offer “swap shops” where you can get recycled paints that were leftover from a neighbor’s project.