A Guide On How To Renovate Your Apartment Into An Eco-Friendly Space
Renovating an apartment into an eco-friendly space is a valuable and significant project. As society becomes more educated of environmental damage that has occurred over past generations, it is impossible to ignore the need for change.
Transforming a living space with an eco-friendly objective will:
- Unclutter living spaces.
- Reduce the negative environmental impact.
- Produce a low maintenance lifestyle.
- Free up valuable time due to simple home life.
- Give long term economic benefits.
- Promote green living amongst friends and family.
- Provide personal moral satisfaction.
Here is a guide on how to make your apartment eco-friendly!
When renovating, building green is the most desirable method; however, it is not always easy to build eco-friendly. Here are some ideas on how to renovate better and smarter.
Concrete floors. Natural light. Stone countertop. Photo credit: Residence Building
Use eco-friendly insulation
Lining your walls and roof spaces with high-quality and eco-friendly insulation, such as cellulose, polyester, glass wool and sheep wool, will keep your apartment cosy in winter and cool in summer. Your living space will be comfortable all year round, reducing costly electricity bills, gas bills and CO₂ emission.
VOC free paints
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are found in paints and can be detrimental to the environment. VOC’s produce harmful molecules which evaporate when the paint is applied, which can cause long term environmental damage. Using VOC free paints is an environmentally friendly solution.
Using recycled building materials reduces landfill and reduces demand on the industry to produce more of the same. Waiting times decrease, costs are lower, and more importantly, less precious resources are used.
Reclaimed hardwood flooring
Hardwood is an excellent flooring option as it is a natural and non-toxic product; however, there has been a concern in recent years of irresponsible timber practices. Reclaiming hardwood floorboard is an ethical way to reuse perfectly good timber whilst giving a warm rustic finish to an apartment.
Alternative renewable flooring options like cork flooring are now on the market. Cork is a waterproof and soft material that has excellent thermal and acoustic properties. Incredibly a Quercus Suber, a.k.a cork oak, can be harvested for hundreds of years, making cork a renewable material.
Using alternative materials can give your apartment a unique personality, is cost-effective and relieves demand on overused industries. Consider using bamboo cabinets, wool carpets, concrete floors and natural stone countertops. All these materials are durable, eco-friendly and it also supports workers in minor industries.
Windows and doors
Windows and doors can be expensive and generally are not the same quality that the previous generations produced. Searching for windows and doors that have been salvaged can bring immediate charm and character into your apartment whilst saving you money.
Be sure to ask for enviro-friendly cleaning products before reverting to the more common chemical choice. If you must use a chemical product, take a moment to ensure they are used correctly and not end up in the waterways.
Deconstruct and salvage
Rather than sending in the demolishing team, take a moment to see what can be salvaged. Deconstructing kitchens and cupboards, salvaging bricks and tiles, and saving doors and light fittings are excellent ways to make some extra money from resale or save some precious dollars by using it elsewhere in your renovations.
Water is a limited natural resource, and it is vital we do all we can to conserve or recycle as much water as possible. Here are some ways to conserve water.
Dual-flush toilet. Natural light. Natural ventilation.
Utilising greywater can be complex in apartment living. Some apartment buildings have communal greywater systems; alternatively, resorting back to simple methods is best. Using buckets in showers and sinks to reuse the greywater on indoor plants or running washing machines drain hoses onto accessible grass areas is basic but effective.
Installing a low flow showerhead will help save a considerable amount of water every day whilst also saving dollars on your water bills. Installing a shower timer will ensure showers are kept to an appropriate length.
While renovating, it is good practice to follow all water lines to check the integrity of pipework, taps, and joints to ensure no leaks will waste crucial water.
It is estimated a quarter of the household’s water consumption is from flushing the toilet. Dual flush cisterns and low flow plumbing systems can reduce water use when using the bathroom.
We rely on electricity in everyday life to survive; unfortunately, it can be damaging to the environment. Here are some less harmful ways to power your apartment.
Natural and LED lighting. Hardwood floors. Natural ventilation.
Solar panels are the best choice to bring renewable energy into your home. You will be surprised where solar installation professionals can install their products, so speak to the experts before ruling out this option.
Many large home appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and washing machines are used daily, whilst freezers and fridges run continuously. An energy-efficient appliance will consume less energy and also save you lots on your electricity bill. Look for the Energy Star sticker.
When choosing your power supplier, be sure to do your research and ask questions about their renewable energy deals. Some suppliers offer clean energy contracts that use renewable energy on the supplier’s grid to supply power to your home.
LED lighting is the most efficient lighting on the market, and the initial outlay will pay dividends in the long run. Not only will you save money on your electricity bill and bulb replacement cost, but fewer bulbs will also be going into landfill due to the LED’s longevity. Oh, and they give better quality lighting too.
Using natural light, especially in an apartment, is crucial to a healthy living space. Installing windows in basements and small apartments can open up the space to give it a fresh and inviting ambience whilst also being more energy-efficient and saving you money.
Apartments are often in dense population locations where the air quality is compromised. Here are a few eco-friendly ways to bring fresh air into your apartment.
Natural light. Natural ventilation. Indoor plants.
Plants are the perfect filters to have within the homes as they remove chemicals, filter toxins and exchange CO₂ for O₂. Building a plant wall or herb gardens are good ways to change an apartment’s aesthetics whilst cleaning the air. Ask your local nursery which indoor plants suit your space.
Windows cannot be underestimated in apartment living. Cracking open a window and letting air flow naturally improves your air quality whilst also removing the need for forced ventilation that uses more energy.
Using an air purifier will help with the air quality within your apartment; however, ensure it uses fully recyclable air cartridges and is energy efficient.
Green Bins, Compost and worm farms
Food scraps that go into landfill do not break down due to the lack of oxygen, causing methane gas release. Many councils offer organic bins to keep under your sink for your food scraps, which can then go into green waste bins. Alternatively, there are neat compost bins and worm farms for small living spaces like apartments that do not produce odours or mess.
It’s time to start your eco-friendly renovation!
These are just some ways to help you plan and start your eco-friendly renovations. Whether you plan to live in or use an environmentally friendly rental, renovating your apartment to be healthier for the environment and its occupant is all the inspiration you need to get started.