When we talk about sustainable renovation, we first think about making our home more energy efficient. A first step, but not the only one! Congratulations, you’ve bought a house and want to renovate it. This is already a sustainable operation since you are reusing old things. But you can’t stop there. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of our best tips for a sustainable renovation.
1. Think beyond energy savings
When we talk about sustainable renovation, we can first think about making our home more energy efficient. This is certainly a first step in the right direction. But you can also act sustainably through the choice of materials and their possible reuse.
A sustainable renovation is a renovation that not only focuses on the house’s energy performance but also on the optimal use of space and the sustainable use of water and materials. For example, rainwater is a good alternative to drinking water for the toilet, washing machine, or outdoor faucet.
2. Use the existing space first
We like to live in large spaces- and the coronavirus pandemic has further increased the demand for space- but this concept does not fit the definition of sustainable living. Because those who live sustainably are not looking for large spaces but want to live in a compact way. In a small home, you need less energy.
When converting, it is, therefore, better to first check whether the existing volume of the house can be optimized rather than opting for the largest possible extension, which often leaves you with an insufficient budget for a quality renovation. Don’t extend more than necessary because every square meter of built-up area entails maintenance, heating, and renovation costs.
Ask your architect to draw up a plan that optimizes the existing spaces, for example, by rearranging the attic or changing the layout of the house. But also, by bringing enough daylight everywhere, the existing volume becomes more pleasant to live in.
3. Think long-term
Even if you don’t have the necessary budget, think long-term when you want to renovate in a sustainable way and draw up a global plan. The advantage of a renovation is that you can spread the work, and therefore the costs, over time. So ask yourself: what would it take to make your home sustainable?
Then it’s a matter of setting priorities. Are additional rooms urgently needed, for example? Then the first step may be to renovate an uninsulated attic roof or perhaps even raise the roof. A new roof can also allow for the installation of solar panels. You don’t have to wait until all your work is done to do this.
In another home, tackling a poorly laid-out addition – where there is insufficient daylight, moisture problems, or inferior materials have been used – could be the priority. A small additional effort might be to take advantage of the addition’s renovation to renovate the rear facade, placing new sashes and insulation.
4. Think two moves ahead!
There really is no standard roadmap for a sustainable renovation. It’s not always true that the first step in any sustainable renovation is roof renovation, followed by window replacement and the installation of solar panels. A sustainable renovation is personalized: not only to the building but also to its inhabitants. However, there are a number of basic requirements for each phase.
Thus, each must be well thought out and properly executed without compromising the following steps. This means that you must consider future work and think two steps ahead. If you are renovating and insulating the roof now, consider future insulation of the exterior walls by providing overhangs. Or, when renovating a floor, consider incorporating an underfloor heating system so that your home is already prepared for low-temperature heating in the future.
5. Choose the right materials
For your flooring, natural materials are ideal. Solid flooring, stone, cork, sisal, or linoleum. The coating you choose for your walls can also be selected to respect nature. Some coatings have a limited impact on the environment. Therefore, choose local products or natural raw materials without neglecting quality or performance. For example, choosing a clay coating will allow your walls to “breathe” since clay regulates humidity.
As for paints, the labels indicated on the pots will allow you to choose a paint that respects nature. Also, choose paint without additives and without synthetic solvents. These small gestures not only have an impact on ecology but also on health, as they also contribute to good indoor air quality.
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