Do you want to build an eco-friendly home or add environmental-friendly and sustainable elements to your existing home? If so, you need to find a builder or renovation expert who understands the concepts of an eco-friendly home and can source the right products for your build or renovation.
Let’s take a look at one of the most important issues you will need to discuss before committing yourself to an eco-friendly new build or renovation, and that is sourcing the right products.
Where do the products originate?
Knowing the source of any materials used in your new build or renovation and how far they need to travel to arrive on-site are important issues relating to the carbon cycle. Eco-friendly means that the environment wasn’t harmed during either the production or transportation of the materials. For example, since the production of poured concrete releases a massive amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as does it’s transportation, you could discuss using precast concrete slabs with your builder or renovation expert, as they take much less energy to produce and transport.
What are the eco benefits of these products?
Are you looking for thermal qualities or cooling qualities from these products and materials? It’s very important to know how each material contributes to the eco-friendliness of your home and it’s also a good way to open a conversation with your builder or renovation expert and find out how much they really know about the topic.
Are there any materials that can be reused?
Reusing materials is the best way to include sustainability into your home. So are there any materials that can be reused on-site or any second hand recycled materials that can be used in the build? Your builder or renovation expert should know where to source good second hand materials in the local area.
Can the wastes of new materials be recycled?
Whether you are building or renovating, there will be many products that you have to source new, simply because there are no reliable alternatives. In this case, do your best to ensure that all of the waste from each material’s production and from its use on-site can be recycled safely, reducing your carbon load. Any builder or renovation expert should have information on this topic.
Do the materials affect your home’s air quality?
Once the product is installed in your home, does it affect the air quality inside your home, either by reducing or improving the quality of the air? For example, some building materials can release toxins into the air causing a host of health problems, such as pressed wood products that release formaldehyde or paint, adhesives, flooring and varnish that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Check with you builder or renovation expert for no-VOC alternatives and have a frank discussion about how the building materials may affect the quality of air in your home.
You should also source no-VOC furnishings, because upholstered furniture and mattresses (anything that contains foam) can release toxic chemicals inside your home. That’s why second hand furniture or materials are such a good idea, because any outgassing should have ceased years ago!