I am the opposite of a nomad; despite my voracious travels, I have lived in the same place since 1986. This stationary bent isn’t related to a lack of adventure or acute Agoraphobia; it’s just that I love it here. As time has passed, animals, friends, frolics, and foibles have left the place a bit shoddy around the edges, in need of repair.
When I look at sprucing the place up a bit, I wonder how it can be done with grace and sustainability. Could my home improvement project be done mindfully to create hope for the planet?
Here are a few ways to refurbish and rejuvenate without adding to the planet’s woes.
While there is always that itch to buy something new, there’s a certain comfort in having reclaimed items in your home. Reclaimed wood is one of the most common examples and is one of the most environmentally friendly decisions you can notch up.
It’s usually weathered with unique coloring and knobby knotholes that bear patterns of insect markings and perhaps a nail hole or two—these that add character and charm of a hidden past.
Properly recycled and processed, the beauty and functionality of reclaimed wood are unmatched.
Reclaimed wood is ideal for building furniture, doors, kitchen countertops, and islands, as well as flooring.
Using reclaimed wood decreases demand for newly sourced lumber—reducing the destruction of our beloved forests.
In 2019 the tropics lost an area of forest equivalent to the size of a football field every six seconds. The destruction in 2020 was even worse.
If we continue destroying our forests at the current rate, our forests will disappear in the next 100 years!
This article, “What’s Going On With Deforestation Right Now?” provides a picture of this immense problem and solutions to reduce and reverse the damage.
Paint Your Way Out of that Corner‘
My walls look like they’ve seen a lot of action—if only they could talk. The notches and dings are numerous and need a good paint job. The paint I choose will have an impact that’s hard to wrap my head around.
VOC means volatile organic compounds found in many different building materials—like paint. They’re unsustainable and smelly, harmful to people and the environment.
Low and no-VOC paints are becoming more available these days; they dry quickly and provide good durability
Low VOC paints still contain some amounts of volatile organic compounds – but at a dramatically reduced amount.
Ask your retailer and do some research before you paint your way into a toxic corner.
Stay Cool and Wait for the Paint
When I first moved to this coastal nook, the temperature rarely marked above 80 degrees F. No one had air conditioning. Today 80 degrees is almost a daily occurrence, but central air conditioning is out of my budget. Besides, why should I heat my entire house when only a room or two will suffice?
There’s an ultra-white paint that holds great promise created by Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor!
Coating buildings with this paint may one day cool them off enough to reduce the need for air conditioning, the researchers say. It can have a cooling power of 10 kilowatts—more powerful than the central air conditioners used by most houses.
Until it’s available, I will buy a small AC insert for my bedroom.
Sheets Alive Don’t Throw in the Towel.
Adding a few comfy essentials to my new space adds warmth without spending a fortune. It’s the little things like sheets, towels and rugs that create a luxurious, comfy space. But all textiles are not created equal. When thinking about other textiles, it is essential to check their environmental impact: The Importance of Certified Organic Cotton.
Check out the products from Delilah Home. They offer a wide range of 100% organic cotton bath, kitchen and beach towels certified to the strict Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). They are pledging to donate 10 percent of all profits to “Operation Warm,” an organization dedicated to warming needy children.
Some Things Take a Dump
Inevitably there will be cast aside building material and things that go dump in the night. Getting a dumpster, sometimes called a roll-off makes logistical sense. They come in many sizes, and it’s not uncommon to need a few throughout remodeling. However, Breeding Roll Off offers a range of sizes and is environmentally friendly too.
Being sustainable and environmentally friendly during a house renovation takes thought and time. But, if you do it right, you can create a bit of hope for the future of our planet—right in your own home.