Looking for some bedroom renovation ideas? Well, make sure you keep the environment in mind. A renovation can have a negative impact on the environment because of the materials used to develop fabrics, paints, and other resources. In addition, it can create a substantial amount of waste.
On the flip side, a bedroom renovation can also benefit the environment. If you design with efficiency in mind, you can decrease your energy usage. Interested? Here are a few key things you can try:
1. Bamboo Sheets
Bamboo sheets are known for being extremely comfortable, and also being great for the environment. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource that’s pliable and easy to use for a variety of purposes. Most people prefer bamboo sheets to cotton for their softness and health benefits.
If you’re looking for a good brand, Ettitude has paved the way for bamboo sheets as the first company to make 100 percent organic bamboo lyocell bedding.
2. Improve Insulation
If you’re planning to tear out any walls or renovate the structure of your bedroom, take a good look at your insulation. When insulation does its job right, it keeps air from leaking inside or outside, which keeps your HVAC system from running overtime. However, when insulation ages, it begins to lose that protective ability.
Eco-friendly insulation options include sheep’s wool, cotton, aerogel, rigid polystyrene, and icynene. Icynene has been rated the best for home efficiency, but it’s often more expensive than other options.
3. Shop Organically
Look for the organic materials label on new furniture, bedding, or anything else you purchase. Organic materials significantly reduce the amount of resources used during manufacturing. Companies that create organic materials also tend to use more sustainable environmental practices when manufacturing products.
4. Use Sustainable Construction Methods
When renovating walls or ceilings in the bedroom, employ good practices. Contractors typically offer sustainable construction services if you’re willing to pay a little more. As a result, they’ll use more eco-friendly waste processes and invest in recyclable and organic materials.
5. Recycle or Donate
Instead of getting rid of your old bedding and furniture, use what you already have. You can restore an old bed frame with a little sand paper and some wood varnish or paint. Furniture can also be reupholstered or repainted.
If you must get all new furniture, donate the old items to a good cause or a thrift store, rather than taking it to a landfill. That way, it can be reused again and you’ll do a good deed in the process.
6. Run an Air Filter
You can’t clean the air in your neighborhood through a simple bedroom renovation, but you can make a difference within your own home. By running a HEPA air filter, you can make the air healthier to breathe. You can also make sure your air ducts and vents are free from dust and chemicals that could contaminate your bedroom air.
7. Choose a Green Bed
The mattress is by far the most important part of any bedroom. Look for a great mattress that’s toxin free and doesn’t contain polyurethane foam. Studies have shown that when animals are exposed to the materials in a common mattress, it can seriously affect their heath.
Green Sleep is an excellent manufacturer of green mattresses. They use materials harvested naturally without chemicals and without hurting the environment in the manufacturing process.
8. Install Sustainable Flooring
Bamboo floors are popular in sustainable flooring today. They are made of an extremely hard wood that’s durable and scratch-resistant, making it a great option for a modern bedroom floor. As mentioned previously, bamboo is easily renewable, making it a better alternative to hardwood.
If you like carpet in your bedroom, make sure you choose an environmentally-friendly carpet. Manufacturers can release a lot of toxins into the environment, and some polyester carpets can be bad for the air quality of your home.
Look for organic wool carpet and reduce your overall carbon footprint.
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.