You’ve dreamed of it. You’ve worked toward it. You’ve designed for it. We’re talking about that glorious moment when someone steps into your home and says, “Wow!”
We all want to be proud of where we live. For many homeowners, that triggers a lifelong quest to update their home’s look and fine-tune it to stay on trend.
If you’re a fan of the planet, though, this creates a problem. Many home renovations have a strong negative impact on the environment. Between the materials they harvest and the energy they require, you might be surprised how big your renovation’s carbon footprint is.
It doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to craft a contemporary home while protecting the planet, like these ideas.
Eco-Friendly Improvements for a Contemporary Home
When someone compliments your renovation, wouldn’t you love to tell them how environmentally friendly it is? With these great projects, you can.
1. Eco-Friendly Fencing
Let’s start with the outside of your home. For many homeowners, a fence is a necessity. Between the privacy it offers and the finished look it gives your yard, it’s a win-win.
Look for a great fence that emphasizes the environment. One particular example is SimTek and their EcoStone fence. It has one of the highest percentages of recycled material on the market.
As an added bonus, this fences comes in pre-manufactured panels. That means an easier and less expensive installation. To see how it looks, learn more about SimTek EcoStone.
2. Upgraded Windows
On the surface, windows don’t seem like they affect your home’s look much. That is, until you give them an upgrade. A fresh, new window can give your home an instant upgrade and make it look more high-end and well-maintained.
As you’re shopping for windows, look for energy-efficient options. Your windows can have a huge impact on your energy usage and your effect on the planet. To get the full benefit, though, you need to make sure they’re installed and sealed the right way.
For a great contemporary look, it’s all about big windows. As an added bonus. the natural light those big windows let in can cut down on your energy usage.
3. Refinished Cabinets
Replacing your cabinets is one of the fastest ways to take a kitchen from traditional to contemporary. It’s also a fast way to damage the environment, though.
Instead of replacing your cabinets, consider refinishing them. Wood cabinets are easy to sand down and refinish with a different color or different texture.
What if you want to change the style of your cabinets too? In some cases, a skilled carpenter can make that happen. If not, consider keeping your cabinets’ bodies in place and changing the doors alone.
4. Step Up Your Appliances
Sticking with the kitchen theme, your appliances are another huge factor in your home’s look. To modernize your kitchen’s style, stainless steel appliances are the way to go.
As you shop, keep your eye out for two vital words: “Energy Star.” Energy Star is a program the US Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) started in 1992.
This program sets certain energy efficiency standards. If you see appliances that are “Energy Star certified” or have the tell-tale blue logo, it means they meet high standards for energy efficiency. It’s an easy way to tell if you’re getting eco-friendly appliances.
5. Take the Geothermal Plunge
Okay, this update won’t have much of an impact on your home’s look. It’s getting more and more popular in contemporary homes, though, so it’s a big plus for your resale value. Plus, it can reduce your energy use by around 65%.
Geothermal heating uses the earth’s natural temperature stability to heat your home. The system sends liquid deep into the earth to heat it up. Then it uses that hot water throughout the floors of your home to offer a comfortable warmth.
What about air conditioning in the summer, you ask? A geothermal HVAC system can pull the heat out of your home’s air and send it down into the earth.
6. Upgrade the John
When it comes to home improvement projects, never underestimate the power of the bathrooms. A bathroom is a vital part of a home that buyers look for, so when it comes to resale value, you could be sitting on a treasure.
One way to bring your contemporary style into your bathroom is with a new toilet. Modern trends call for sleek toilets with clean lines.
While you’re making that upgrade, you can make your home more environmentally friendly too. Look for a low flow toilet, which keeps your energy usage and water usage to a minimum.
There are even toilets with multiple settings so you can choose how light or strong you want each flush to be.
7. Localize Your Landscape
No great home renovation is complete without top-notch curb appeal. Too many homeowners forget what an impact landscaping has on their curb appeal, so don’t make the same mistake.
If you want your new landscaping to be eco-friendly, one of the best things you can do is to use plants that are native to your area. These plants will improve your air quality while rebuilding the natural ecosystem.
Local plants also take less energy use (and less time) to care for. They’re adapted to the local climate so they won’t need as much water and fertilizer to maintain.
Designing Your Eco-Friendly Modern Home
As much charm as a traditional home style has, it’s not for everyone. A beautiful contemporary home doesn’t just offer a modern look but it tends to have a more high-end feel too.
Still, home improvements aren’t worth destroying our natural planet for. Instead, you can take steps to keep your carbon footprint small or even shrink it as you craft your newly contemporary home.
The ideas above will help you get started. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks, though, check out our home design blog.