If your home is in need of a little renovating, but you are trying to keep your carbon footprint low then you are probably feeling a little torn right now. You love the idea of your home having a fresh look, but you are well aware of the negative impact renovating can have on the environment. Well, these ideas for eco-friendly remodeling will allow you to create a space you love without be burdened by a lot of guilt over the environment.

Hire the Right Professionals

There are contractors who specialize in green-friendly building and renovating. Choose a company that knows what materials and practices they should be using to have the smallest impact on the planet.

Getting Rid of Demolished Material

One of the questions you should be asking builders you interview is about their demolished materials. Where does everything go? Do they recycle everything they can? Don’t let them just tell you they do; ask for specifics. If you handle the renovation yourself, this is something you are going to want to do a little research about.

Material Options

Ideally, you will look for products that are certified by Forest Stewardship Council, Greenguard Environmental Institute or Cradle-to-Cradle. A Few things to keep in mind include:

  • Vinyl is one of the most environmentally damaging materials on the planet, so avoid it, if you can.

  • Linoleum is made from linseed oil, and is a much better option than vinyl.

  • Choose no- or low-VOC caulks, sealers, and paints. Regular products release volatile organic compounds that are extremely toxic to you and the environment.

  • Although there are some certified carpets that don’t emit VOCs, most do. Cork and bamboo are ideal flooring alternatives, because they are both made from sustainable sources. If you must go with hardwood, choose a reclaimed product.

Special Considerations

  • Skip the wood-burning fire, and shop for modern floor fireplaces instead. If you already have a fireplace, you may want to build a wall in front of it. Alternately, you could turn it into a den for your four-legged friend. Modern floor fireplaces create no smoke or toxic fumes.
  • Make sure the Forest Stewardship Council has certified any wood used on your cabinets. Commercial products often contain formaldehyde, which can release harmful toxins into the air.
  • Choose a recycled glass counter instead of granite.
  • Install faucets with flow reducers to minimize water usage.
  • Add extra insulation to your attic and walls to prevent heat transfer.
  • Buy a water filtration system, so you can stop using plastic bottles.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances and lighting options.