Today’s post is written by a DIY dad extraordinaire. Paul Denikin began learning the ins and outs of DIY home repair while making his home better fit and more accessible for his daughter, Maggie, who has special needs. Paul shares his tips for DIY eco-friendly home repair.
DIY Eco-Friendly Home Repair from guest blogger Paul Denikin:
Planning for a home remodel can be overwhelming, but when you’re attempting to be eco-friendly at the same time, there are even more added elements to worry about. From planning for the right materials and how to receive/repurpose them to figuring out green heating and lighting solutions, there are so many things to take into consideration. However, if you know where to start and keep an open, flexible mind, it doesn’t have to be a stressful undertaking.
Tips for Planning a Green Remodel
1. Ask for help.
Even if you’re well-versed in how to be eco-friendly in other ways, planning for a green home is vastly different and you may find yourself out of your element. It’s okay to ask for help from professionals and, in fact, it’s preferable to starting such a large project by yourself. Finding like-minded contractors, architects, and material suppliers can go a long way in helping you achieve your remodel on time and on budget.
2. Plan according to what you have as well as what you need.
You may find that you have quite a few building materials that can be repurposed from something else. This is a wonderful way to keep from adding to landfills as well as save money on your project. For instance, unused brick from a demolished fireplace can be used in the garden, while glass can be crushed up for a kitchen countertop project. Using your own materials will not only save on costs, but will also keep you from having to potentially ship it in from another location, which will use fuel and packaging materials.
3. Do some research.
You’ll likely be able to find green alternatives for many materials that won’t break the bank; cork or bamboo are great options for flooring that won’t add to deforestation, and the cost is about the same as other flooring because much of the incurred expense comes from installation. Check out local suppliers to see what’s available and compare pricing, and remember to keep an open mind. You may not be able to find everything you want, but there’s almost always a similar alternative.
4. Use natural lighting when possible.
Using the sun to your advantage by installing skylights and lots of windows can be the perfect way to warm and light your home naturally. (For tips on artificial lighting, see Light Bulbs 101.)
5. Consider how to best use the space you have.
If you remodel your home to be perfectly eco-friendly but add more square footage you don’t need, you’ll end up defeating the purpose. It’s best to start small and plan for the amount of space your family truly requires without taking into consideration the “what ifs.” Adding rooms that won’t be used much will just require more heating, air conditioning, and electricity, so pare down what isn’t useful and try to add on to what you already have, such as attic space. By raising the roof a bit, you could add on two or three rooms without tacking onto the amount of land your home takes up.
Remodeling isn’t for the faint of heart, but going eco-friendly is a wonderful way to preserve what we have for future generations and ensure a cost-effective way of life that will keep you and your family comfortable for years to come.
Note from Andrea:
When it comes to eco-friendly building materials, my favorite resource is Prescriptions for a Healthy House. If there are signs of water damage or hidden mold, do not tear out walls, floors, or ceilings, as an existing health hazard can be made much worse. See A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold.
More about Paul Denikin:
Paul Denikin began learning the ins and outs of DIY home repair while making his home better fit and more accessible for his daughter, Maggie, who has special needs. Paul wants to continue to help special needs parents like himself, and offer them a source for ideas. And that’s why he created DadKnowsDIY.com, a website that offers home improvement project how-tos and other accessibility information. When Paul isn’t being handy around the house, he likes to take Maggie to the movies on the weekends.