With ailments such as asthma, allergies and hypersensitivity being linked to chemicals, creating a healthy home environment has become a priority for many homeowners.
Lower the VOCs
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemical substances found in many common household products including paints, glues, cleaning products and disinfectants. They contribute to an unhealthy indoor environment.
If you plan to paint your home, look for brands labelled ‘zero VOC’, ‘solvent-free’ or ‘zero toxins’. Where possible, schedule painting projects for summer, when it is easier to ventilate the house.
Build it green
There are structural things you can do when renovating or re-decorating that benefit you and your home in the long term.
- Natural materials: avoid using chipboards and particleboards that contain toxic glues; choose stone, brick, metal and solid timber instead.
- Bamboo flooring: unlike trees, bamboo will regrow when it is harvested, so it is sustainable, durable and looks great as flooring.
- Recycled timber: reduce your carbon footprint by replacing floors, benches or even walls with recycled timber. It has character, warmth and reduces the number of trees being cut down.
- Skylights: add natural light to your home by installing skylights. They’ll save on electricity and make dark spaces more useable and friendly.
- Passive design: design your renovations to be solar-passive, so windows and eaves are angled to take full advantage of the winter sun but are shaded from the harsh summer sun. This means that your house will naturally be warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning.
- Solar panels: consider installing solar panels on your roof. The initial cost can be high but they will pay for themselves in the years to come.
- LED lighting: install LED lights wherever possible, as they reduce power usage and last longer. Many new lighting trends make use of the technology as it allows greater scope for creative design.
Furnish with natural materials
When buying new furniture or fittings, find out what it’s made of and consider how it will affect your family’s wellbeing over the years.
- Choose natural furnishings and finishes such as untreated cotton, linen, canvas, hemp, wool, silk, rayon, feathers, down, latex rubber, and linoleum.
- Avoid synthetic carpets and underlay; opt for timber or tiled flooring.
You’ll find significant differences in the energy consumption of appliances, so make use of the energy rating labels attached to them and select the most efficient models. These labels compare the appliance with the energy and water consumption of other similar models, and will make an impact not only on the environment but also on your energy bills.
Any renovation work can be done using environmentally friendly materials. It’ll make your home less expensive to run and a whole lot healthier to live in.
By Jude Gregory for domain.com.au