Readers! Lately I’ve been having a lot of phone calls (seriously A LOT) from people who are renovating their homes. They were asking me about certain building material to complete their projects. But strangely, most of them had no idea about the kind of material they after! Mostly they were inquiring if I had just any material to do the ceiling, or wall, or roof, and how much I can give them the cheapest.
Then it got me thinking. The ultimate purpose of renovating is to retrofit or to upgrade your house to a better condition, isn’t it? So why do people after the cheapest kind of material for their home? If we think about it, they should be choosing the best material instead, right?
So today I would like to write something about it.
Renovating green, perhaps? How many of you have heard about it?
Renovating green doesn’t mean painting the entire house green or putting a lot of trees around the house. The purpose of this is basically to improve the quality of life and of course, it will save you some money in the long run. Many of you might not realize that front-up cost that you pay in the beginning to pay the best choice of materials and strategies will make a HUGE saving in the future. Low maintenance cost and lower bills are just some many benefits of doing it right.
Of course, it will be better for your health too.
Now... how to do it right??
Easy. Once you decided to do ‘green’, you can start from the design. Think about how you design your house so that you can reduce environmental effect from your renovation. Some call it the “passive design”.
This means understanding the physical location of your house and also understanding the weather patterns to create a comfortable space inside all year round. This strategy will do you the trick on how to reduce bills on heating/ cooling system. There's a lot of things you can do to apply this concept which include orientation, insulation, double glazing and airflow.
*An example of passive design strategy*
Now let’s move on to a choice of materials. When you go green, you wouldn’t want a material that can be harmful for the households and the environment, am I right? On top of that, you would want materials with the least environmental impact. Let me tell you this. Based on my experience, you wouldn’t get the benefits you’re looking for if you’re shopping around for the cheapest quote.
This doesn’t necessarily mean to go ahead with the most expensive one but at least, quality comes with a little cost. My advice is, don’t dream of having a superb quality of a healthy life if your only concern is budget. So, it might be a good idea to start changing this perspective and try some of these guides to make help you find what you’re looking for.
Some tips to renovate green:
- Re use existing materials from existing demolition to minimise construction waste (and thus, environmental impact)
- Use renewable sources e.g. bamboo, timber, woods, clay, or anything from the earth!
- Select materials that support your passive design e.g: breathable material for better air circulation and cooling system
- Avoid materials that can leak toxic and chemicals. Some of these that you may not be aware of already are: paints, composite woods, carpets and others made with high level of toxic chemicals. These materials are said to be the cause of “sick building syndrome” that often gives you allergies, headaches and fatigue.
Now you must have some kind of idea of what you’re going to do. Renovating green doesn’t have to be so expensive. Though it’s true that the alternative materials sometimes cost you a little bit more but I’d say it worth every dollar I pay.
Changing our perspective to healthier and better kind of products will not only make our renovation project last longer –given that we chose to pay a bit more for better quality product, but also it will have a very positive impact to our own health and well being. And don’t forget by doing this we also contribute to conserving our mother earth.
All in all... Happy home, happy earth, happy life! :) :)
“LOHAS Australia is committed to promoting sustainable home and living for Australian households”