Our world, as it is, is faced with the huge challenge of climate change. Groups and individuals are doing their part all in the bid to try to protect what is left of nature and our planet, in order to protect our future as humans. As a result, a wave of eco-friendly ways of life is sweeping across several parts of the world. Every individual and every family can play their part in this eco-friendly campaign. There is another wave that has been sweeping most cities for some years now – the wave of home improvements. In this article, we will marry the two waves and look at some of the ways we can introduce eco-friendly improvements to our homes to improve our living standards.
- Choose Your Wood Wisely
We all love beautiful and elegantly-polished furniture in our homes, don’t we? But on the other hand, there is a worrying increase in deforestation. What do we do? We pick our wood wisely. How? Make sure the furniture you want to buy is made from wood that is FSC certified. FSC certified wood is simply wood that has been certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Such certification basically tells you that the wood used in a particular piece of furniture is harvested from a forest that is sustainably managed. So, whether you are shopping for wooden doors, cabinets, or countertops, you should know the right direction to go. In the USA, the wood used to make most of the countertops, cabinets, and decks are FSC certified. Another helpful certification is the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certification. Their goal is similar to the FSC, although the latter is considered a bit more rigorous in their enforcement of compliance. Either way, both certifications will tell you whether a wood product comes from ‘safe’ and sustainable sources.
2. Choose Glass
Yup, glass is very safe for the environment. Aside from the fact that it is one of the most recyclable materials on this planet, it is still safe even when it has not been recycled. For example, when glass breaks down, it does not release any harmful chemicals to the soil. Thus, it is absolutely safe even when it has not been recycled. So, how do you choose glass when it comes to eco-friendly home improvements? One of the best ways is to opt for glass doors such as bifold panel doors or aluminum bifold doors. Such doors come with many advantages. Aside from the fact that they are environmentally-safe, they are also light and strong. Don’t make a mistake; strong does not always mean huge and bulky. Glass doors with protective frames are strong, durable, and long-lasting. Plus, they are ideal when it comes to ushering the day’s sunlight into your home without needing to open your doors. So, in which areas of your home will such doors have the most impact? Bifold doors are perfect for patios. However, you can also use sliding glass doors to partition a part of your home without taking up too much space. Plus, bifold doors are guaranteed to add a touch of elegance to your home.
3. Thermal Curtains
Have you ever thought of these? One of the most effective hacks when it comes to reducing your energy bills for a long time is by using thermal curtains. Your windows can do much, much more than just adding to the decorative touches of your house. All you need to do is to pay attention to the kind of curtains you adorn them with. Because glass is such a poor insulator, windows tend to be one of the biggest outlets for heat and warmth to leave the room during cold temperatures. Thermal curtains can be used as a way to insulate the home. Do not confuse this with blackout curtains. The latter are purposely designed to help keep out unwanted light rays from entering the room. They are usually made of dense, layered, or tightly woven fabric. Although thermal curtains can also be used to keep out sunlight in a way, their main purpose is to insulate – hence their name. They are usually made of multi-layered fabric with a coat or backing of insulating material. This material could either be polyester, wool, or 100% cotton. Because of the usually thick nature of these thermal curtains, they can easily block out some level of sound coming from outside the house. And, needless to say, thermal curtains are absolutely eco-friendly.
4. Purchase Low-VOC Paint
One of the most effective ways of improving the appearance of your home is by giving it a good painting job. Be careful, though as not all paints are the same. Some paints usually contain various degrees of unhealthy stuff called volatile organic compounds (VOC). Such compounds are capable of releasing toxic emissions into your home for several years. These toxic emissions can be inhaled into the human body and could cause so many health problems as the years go by. Plus, they are also very bad for the planet. For a long time, these volatile organic compounds were deemed important in paints as they improved performance. However, recent improvements in the quality of paints have ensured that VOCs are no longer needed in the making of paints. So, before you pick out paint from your local store, be sure to check that it does not contain any of these harmful compounds.
5. Add More Plants
Humans and plants need each other. Side-by-side, they benefit from each other. How? Plants breathe in the carbon dioxide humans exhale. While humans breathe in the oxygen that plants exhale – a perfect partnership. Aside from that, plants also have the natural ability to purify the air in our home by soaking up a lot of the pollutants and harmful toxins. So, if you’re truly concerned about your health and the health of this planet, you need to add a couple of plants to your home. Plus, plants are super decoration hacks. Plants such as palms, ferns, succulents, and other indoor plants will make a world of difference to your home.