Sustainability is more than just a trend — it’s become a way of life and an important responsibility, prompting many homeowners in Montgomery County and beyond to seek ways to make their living spaces more eco-friendly.
Whether you’re motivated by a desire to reduce your carbon footprint, lower energy bills, or simply live in a healthier environment, there are numerous updates you can make to your home that are both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible. As a forward-thinking home remodeling company, Custom Craft is here to guide you through some of the top environmentally-friendly updates you can consider for your next project, as well as practical advice to keep in mind on your journey to a greener home.
How to Build a Better Home
When we sat down with Custom Craft designer Grace Arndt to discuss Barbie Dreamhouse features available to those of us in the real world, she mentioned that sustainable design was at the top of her Dreamhouse wish list. We loved this so much that for this month’s post, we asked for her take on what it means to build a green and healthy home. Here are some of her ideas:
Find the Right Fit
If sustainable remodeling is a priority, finding a home remodeler who shares your values is essential. When interviewing potential remodelers, ask about their eco-friendly efforts. These could be anything from the materials they have available to the ethical vendors they work with.
At Custom Craft, one of our cabinet suppliers is Kahle’s Kitchens — a company that goes above and beyond to ensure they strictly follow environmental protocols and implement waste-eliminating and recycling initiatives. According to General Manager Scott Fair, one procedure that distinguishes Kahle’s Kitchens from other suppliers is the reuse of leftover materials. Any scraps of wood and debris they have on hand are collected, ground up, and compressed into BioBricks — two-pound pellets that can be used in wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or campfires instead of traditional cordwood. These BioBricks are used to heat the Kahle’s facility and are available to the community.
Once you’ve found a remodeler who can help you achieve your green goals, Grace also suggests communicating these goals to your designer because they “will put the extra effort into helping you reach them. Your achievements will be their achievements. It will be a team effort.”
Remember to Reuse
Before throwing anything away, reuse what you can. For example, an old vanity could be relocated to the garage or basement for a unique storage area. If you can’t reuse an item, try to find someone else who can. If your cabinets, doors, or existing furniture are in good shape but not working with your design, donate or sell them so they’ll be reused elsewhere. You never know when your unwanted items could be someone else’s treasure.
Celebrate the Small Changes
Remember that small victories are victories nonetheless, and most of the time, little steps lead to big changes. It might not be in your budget to install solar panels on your roof, but upgrading your thermostat or swapping out that leaky basement sink could be much more attainable. Any step in the right direction should be valued and celebrated.
Sustainable Living Upgrades
With those ideas in mind, let’s dive into specific upgrades you can make that will go a long way to building a more efficient home:
Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors
One of the most effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is by upgrading your windows and doors. Replacing old, drafty windows with energy-efficient models can significantly reduce heat and air conditioning costs. Look for windows and doors with ENERGY STAR certification to ensure they meet strict energy efficiency standards.
Smart Home Technology
Invest in smart home technology that allows you to monitor and control your home’s systems remotely. This can help optimize energy use, reduce waste, and create a more comfortable living space. Smart thermostats, lighting, and shower systems are just a few examples of how you can make your home smarter and greener.
To her earth-conscious clients, Grace suggests starting remodeling plans with environmentally-friendly materials and letting those items set the stage for the all-over look and style of the space. She also encourages her clients to invest in materials that are lasting and can be locally sourced, even if the price point is slightly higher. Some examples of eco-friendly materials include:
- Bamboo, cork, reclaimed, or recycled flooring
- Recycled glass, solid surface, or recycled quartz countertops
- Low-VOC and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes
Prioritizing sustainable materials like these in your home design sets the foundation for greener living and a healthier lifestyle overall.
Proper insulation is essential when maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home. Upgrading your insulation can reduce heat loss and gain, making your home more energy efficient. Living in an older home? The U.S. Department of Energy suggests getting an energy assessment that can tell you how well your house is insulated and where improvements can be made. If you need more insulation, look for materials made from recycled or renewable resources, like cellulose or spray foam. This improvement will likely pay for itself within a few years, even in newer homes.
Switching to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is a small change that can yield big results. LEDs are highly energy efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. They come in various styles and colors, allowing you to customize your lighting to match your home’s aesthetic.
Incorporating these environmentally-friendly updates into your home remodeling project will create a more sustainable and energy-efficient living space. Not only will you contribute to a greener future, but you’ll also enjoy the benefits of reduced energy bills, improved comfort, and increased property value.
Custom Craft is here to help you achieve your eco-friendly renovation goals. Contact us today to start your journey toward a greener, more environmentally responsible home. Together, we can make a positive impact on our planet, one remodel at a time.