Sustainability can be a concern for anyone building a home or making improvements to their existing one. You have to consider the materials you’re using, the construction process and the impact of the project over its lifetime. It may seem incredibly difficult to limit the carbon emissions produced by construction and DIY. You have to take into account the origins of the materials, their transport and any effect of the work itself. But there are lots of things you can do to limit the impact you have on the environment, including using sustainable materials and buying from responsible sources.
Use Alternative Materials
A lot of the materials we have traditionally used for building are either unsustainable or not particularly eco-friendly. We don’t want to use too much wood anymore, and we worry about using plastic and other materials that don’t biodegrade well and could involve chemicals. But there are lots of alternatives, from composite decking to natural insulation. If you’re worried about how sustainable any of the materials you’re using are, it’s easy to find something else to use in its place.
Check Environmental Policies
When you are buying materials, check the company’s environmental policy. You don’t have to swear entirely off using things like wood if you know that it comes from a sustainable source. For example, the timber specialists at www.alsfordtimber.com make sure their timber is responsibly sourced. If a supplier’s policy isn’t clear, you can always ask. You can also check for membership to organisations such as the Timber Trade Federation and certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
Be Careful Where You Buy From
Whether your materials are sustainable, depend not just on what they are but on where they come from too. Individual countries have unregulated trades in some materials, and you must be careful that you’re not receiving anything from a poor source. Even environmentally-friendly materials such as bamboo could come from illegal trade. Checking a company’s environmental policy will help you determine where the materials originated. But you can also ask them directly and look for the correct certifications.
Recycle and Upcycle Existing Material
One of the downsides to home improvements is the amount of waste they produce. When you are knocking out parts of your home to replace with new things, much of the old stuff will end up in a skip. But some companies, such as Kingfisher, are trying to find ways of recycling and reusing this material, so it doesn’t go to waste. You can buy recycled material too, instead of purchasing everything new.
Another small way you can make your project better for the environment is by sharing tools with friends. You don’t all need to use them all the time, so sharing can be the perfect solution. It saves you money, and it’s more eco-friendly than everyone owning a set.