As concerns for our planet's health and longevity increase, more consumers are starting to develop awareness around their carbon footprint. Research has shown that 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable and energy-efficient products (Inc.). Whether it’s in response to consumer demand, reformed policies, or a genuine desire for change, many industries have made, or are starting to make, changes to lower their impact on the environment and the residential housing renovation industry is no exception. With millennials making up 38% of the current home buyer demographic (the largest group), keeping eco-conscious design choices in mind while updating or flipping a property is not only a smart move for our environment but for your asset’s resale or rental potential as well. That’s why we’ve rounded up our top Seven Tips for an Eco-Conscious Home Renovation.
Choose Eco-Friendly Windows
Your window choices play an unexpectedly large role in your property’s temperature regulation and long term can decrease energy use. So, what exactly are “eco-friendly windows”? These are essentially any window options that have a frame made from sustainable materials and panes that are treated properly to ensure no potential air gaps will leak temperature-regulated air out of the house. Sustainable window frames are made from aluminum, vinyl, composite, wood clad, or fiberglass. When selecting window panes, go for a vinyl option, or a double pane window, unless your budget will allow for a triple pane window giving you the ultimate eco-efficient option. If you’re on a quick timeline or a smaller budget, update your existing windows by purchasing small cans of spray foam to fill in any air gaps.
Get Techy with Smart Home Devices
There are plenty of smart home device options on the market these days, and no, we’re not just talking about Alexa. From home energy monitoring systems that send data straight to your smartphone (as granular as the amount of energy each specific outlet in your home uses!) to Energy Star appliances, there are many green technology options out there. One of the most popular energy-saving technologies is a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust your home's heating and air conditioning based on the current temperature so you don’t have to worry about your HVAC working unnecessary overtime.
Look for Non-Toxic and Low VOC Paints and Stains
One of the most important aspects of maintaining an eco-conscious home is keeping the air quality clean and healthy. Did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, on average a home’s interior air is three times more polluted than outdoor air? The biggest contributing factor to this poor air quality is the paint on the walls and stains on the floors and countertops. To decrease the toxic fumes in your home, look for a no VOC or low VOC paint or stain option. For your next asset renovation, Property Masters would be happy to help you find the highest quality paint and stains, with the lowest toxic impact, ensuring a safe home for your potential buyer.
Install Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
The word ‘sustainable’ essentially means ‘long-lasting’, and the need to over-produce household products to meet the demand to replace them when they wear out, reduces when we use sustainable products! We challenge you to look under your sink or in the closet and check on how many extra light bulbs you have stashed away. It’s okay, we have our own collection as well! The reason we keep extra light bulbs on hand is that the most commonly used light bulbs, incandescent lights, break easily or eventually just stop working. When updating your property’s lighting, choose an LED or CFL option. These are much more durable and the increased efficiency can range from 25% - 80% over traditional incandescent bulbs.
Use Green Materials for Upgrades
With the demand for green homes increasing, sustainable home materials are becoming more and more creative and innovative. Bamboo has proven to be an excellent environmentally friendly product that can be used in tiles, trim & flooring, lumber, countertops, decking, and more. One of our favorite recent innovations is insulation and particleboard made from mushrooms. That’s right, Ecovative Design has managed to find a wood and chemical-free alternative to traditional particle board called ‘Myco Board’ which is created from mushroom roots.
Replace Old Toilets with a Dual Flush Option
If you’re updating an old property, the chance you’ll need to replace the toilets is high. The next time you have an asset that needs a new loo, choose a dual flush system over a traditional toilet. This will allow the future homeowner to use less water when flushing and not only decrease water consumption but also lower the cost of their monthly water bill.
Upgrade to Water Efficient Faucets
While we’re on the topic of water, upgrading your houses sink and shower faucets to water-efficient alternatives will decrease your owner or renter's wasted water consumption and save them money on their water bill. Plus, who likes a leaky faucet?! One Community Global ranked faucets on the market today by their sustainability and efficiency with findings that: “Sloan was the most sustainable company, but not far behind was Toto. The third most sustainable was Kohler, next was GROHE, Moen.” The good news is that there are plenty of green faucet options out there to choose from. For showerheads specifically, look for a low-flow option from one of these brands.
Property Masters would love to help you on your next property renovation project in the greenest way possible! If you have any questions about how we can work together to optimize your asset’s listing potential (and carbon footprint), contact us today to schedule a consultation.