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6 Ways to 'Greenify' Your Home Renovation Project

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Wellington Builders | Renovations | Construction | Design & Architecture Services | Environmentally Conscious | Wellington Roofing & Waterproofing | Wellington Painters


Women carpenter sawing timber

Not long ago, 'going green' was a somewhat elusive notion practised by a minority. Being labelled a 'greenie' meant you were someone who lived a more 'out there' lifestyle with alternative views about everything from your living arrangements to your political ideology. Today, though, it seems most of the world is embracing environmental sustainability ideas with gusto! Green has gone mainstream! Even as a nation known the world over for being clean and 'green', we tidy Kiwis have raised the bar for what constitutes true sustainability. People across Aotearoa have embraced energy-efficient lightbulbs, reusable bags and coffee cups, planting projects, nut milks, and waste-free/plastic-free products. We bet just about everyone you know has a bamboo toothbrush and/or kitchen scrubber these days! I even overheard someone at the supermarket the other week saying they were switching to a Vegemite household because Marmite doesn't use glass jars (only plastic) Wowee! That's dedication to the cause right there! Ka Pai, Kiwis! It seems we are all more educated and aware of the importance of sustainable products and practices. By recognising our responsibility to this planet we call home, we have developed an understanding that, as a collective, we need to change the way we live. We've worked out that by making better choices to reduce carbon emissions, we're giving future generations a fighting chance in an increasingly uncertain world. That being said, traditional home building in New Zealand can be an incredibly wasteful process. Skip bins are filled to the brim with material offcuts, empty canisters, and hazardous substances bound for the landfill. Until recently, there wasn't much you could do to reduce your building project's waste and subsequent oversized carbon footprint. So how do you renovate a house to ensure the work being done better aligns with your greener values and environmentally conscious design? That's where we come in!

If you're wondering how to make your renovation more environmentally friendly, these options might be just what you're looking for! Choose Eco Friendly, Sustainable Building Products There are so many more options on the market these days for natural, sustainable and non-toxic materials. (Hooray!) These include things like:

  • Bamboo flooring. Bamboo takes 5-7 years to grow in comparison to 30 years for hardwoods and is considered one of the best eco-friendly materials on the planet.

  • Natural linoleum (made of linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, limestone and natural mineral pigments).

  • Cork flooring - a completely natural, renewable resource. It is also biodegradable and will break down into the environment at the end of its lifecycle.

  • Wool. This incredible natural product has all the qualities you need for unrivalled insulation and or flooring.

  • Eco-friendly adhesives and paint (look for low or no VOC paint).

  • Natural stone - Although not exactly a renewable resource, natural stone is completely natural, fire-resistant, sound-absorbent and very strong.

Recycle and Repurpose When conducting a renovation, ask yourself if there’s anything you could recycle or repurpose elsewhere in the house. For example, perhaps the old kitchen cabinets could be painted and used as storage elsewhere. Or could you repurpose the pantry cabinet and use it as a window seat?

If you cannot find a suitable way to reuse materials on your project, consider taking items to a local recycling store where others can purchase them. Make Use of Nature's Free Resources... If possible, try to incorporate any of the following into your renovation to make the most of natural resources. More sun for light and heat, wind for ventilation and power, and rainwater collection for drinking, washing or irrigation. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate We can't stress how important insulation is in a home! As much as your budget will allow, add insulation wherever you can.

If you live in an older house, you may want to inspect the state of your current insulation. If there has been water damage, is slumped, mouldy, wet or thin and breaking, then now is the time to replace it. Good insulation will help reduce heating costs during winter and keep you warm and healthy. Fix Draughts This one goes without saying, really. But we’ll include it anyway. Sealing up the draughts around your windows and doors will certainly help with the winter power bills. Better still, if the budget allows, bring them up to the NZ building code by replacing them with double-glazed windows.

Depending on the type of window frames, you may be able to replace (retrofit) the glass pane. Use Low Flow Bathroom Products You would be amazed at how much water is wasted from leaky pipes, taps, showerheads and toilets. A dripping tap alone can waste up to 90 litres of water per day!

In addition to replacing any leaky pipes and showerheads, if your bathroom is due for an upgrade, you may wish to think about replacing your toilet with a low-flow model. Toilets are HUGE water guzzlers - they consume up to 30% more water in a day than any other appliance in the house.

Applying one or all of these tips is a step in the right direction for a green home renovation. Not only does 'greenifying' your home add to its value, but you also end up with a warmer, drier, more comfortable abode that costs you less to heat and cool. One more bonus? You will gain a real sense of achievement knowing that you’ve done something wonderful to help the planet. Contact Us if you’re interested in talking to us about your renovation and how we can help you make this as sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly as possible. Wellington builders, Orkney Group Limited are passionate about doing things sustainably and recycling where we can. In fact, our sister Company, Green Abode builds high-performing homes with environmentally conscious design.


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