Not every home improvement promotes the sustainability of the environment. It doesn’t require much additional effort to find approaches that are both friendly to the planet and useful for the homeowner too. It takes a lot of work, but you can make your home more eco-friendly if you are dedicated enough.
Here are 7 eco-friendly home improvements to try out for the New Year.
Use Infrared Asphalt to Repair or Resurface Your Driveway
It is far more eco-friendly to repair your asphalt driveway, rather than having it re-done or resurfaced. Infrared asphalt repair is preferable to having your driveway ripped up, and then using completely new materials to replace it.
Infrared asphalt repair heats an existing asphalt driveway to over 325-degrees Fahrenheit to soften the existing surface. Extra material is added along with oils to smooth it out and replenish the surface. Once at the correct level, a machine roller presses down on the asphalt to produce a smooth patch over the existing driveway.
Build Shelving Using Reclaimed Wood
Rather than going to a DIY store to purchase timber produced from trees recently felled, look at opportunities to use reclaimed wood. This rustic choice offers greater authenticity, and a more organic and original feel. Your house starts to look a little more like a home, and a little less like an IKEA showroom.
Using reclaimed-wood furniture cuts down on the felling of further trees and cuts down on the toxic byproducts that come with newer pressed-board furniture. Using reclaimed wood is a non-toxic way of still having wooden furniture without depleting the earth even further.
Add Renewable Energy to Your Home
Among the possible choices for renewable energy, an interesting one is micro-hydro systems. If you live near a river or other water system, it’s possible to create a small-scale micro-hydro system to generate up to 100-kilowatts of electricity for the home.
Alternatively, in an area that receives a reasonably consistent amount of wind year-round, then a small wind turbine is a possibility too. Failing these two, a solar panel installation is the next best thing and still reduces dependence on the power grid. Even using renewable energy for something isolated, like your freezer or air-conditioning system, is a step in the right direction towards becoming more sustainable.
Re-insulate the Walls
Modern insulation techniques are far better than they were even ten years ago. Your walls probably have cavities and other significant gaps inside them. On very cold days, look for areas of condensation on walls, especially near doors and near your ceiling. They may indicate improper insulation. If you are having a mold problem in your house, especially during winter, then improper insulation is probably to blame.
Using a compost pile is a great addition to your garden. This is especially true if you have a rodent pet because you can compost your sawdust shavings.
A compost heap consists of vegetable food scraps, newspapers, cardboard, leaves, trimmed grass, and more. The mixture will eventually create materials that are sufficiently decomposed so that you mix it into your soil and make your soil more fertile. When you add scraps of food, dig a little way into it, put in your food, and then cover it over. Do not throw food on top and leave it because it will attract pests.
Once your pile is large enough, turn it over with a pitchfork and then leave it and start a new one. The one you leave will take about a year to fully decompose. Turn it occasionally to allow the bacteria to spread. You can tell when it is fertile because weeds start growing in it.
Go for Carpeting and Wallpaper
Foppish celebrities tell us that we should put on a sweater if we are cold rather than using our central heating, all while flying in their private jets. Despite missing the point, these celebrities are misunderstanding a common problem. That problem is the “feeling” of cold.
People put on their central heating when they feel cold, yet there are many things you can do around the home to stop yourself feeling cold (besides putting on a sweater). Painted walls and wood floors reflect and deflect heat very quickly, which means even a small temperature change is quickly felt on your skin. However, carpeting and wallpaper act as a buffer and as heat absorbers, which is why wallpapered and carpeted rooms feel more cozy and warm, which prompts people to use their heating systems less often.
Get a Ceiling Fan
How does a ceiling fan help you save money? Well, helps keep your house both cold and warm. On very hot days, you can put your fan on full blast and keep the humid air moving around your house, which makes it feel colder.
However, few people realize that in a slow or medium setting, a ceiling fan helps a room feel warmer. In the dead of winter, heat rises to your ceiling pretty fast, which means people sitting on your sofa feel cold pretty quickly. A fan on its lower settings helps to push the hot air back down and onto the people below so that they feel the warmth that was generated by radiators and heaters just a moment ago. By recycling the heat in the room, it warms faster, and more importantly, it feels physically warmer, so people do not need the heating on for as long.