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Sustainable DIY Projects for Your Home 

DIY projects have been a source of comfort, engagement, and even sustainability for many homeowners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, these sustainable projects are taking off as more than just a trend but a way to improve your relationship with your home and the world at large.

Sustainable DIY is also a lot easier than you might suspect. From simple appliance upgrades to maximising natural light, greater efficiency can be implemented on your own with the right projects. Additionally, these projects can boost your Energy Performance Certification (EPC) rating).

As you look for ways to enhance your household’s sustainability and energy efficiency, consider these do-it-yourself upgrades guaranteed to make a difference.

1. Install Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the easiest ways to integrate greater energy efficiency is to install new energy-efficient appliances. However, you may not know where to start searching. 

In the U.K., the energy labelling system for home appliances runs on a scale from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient and G being the least. Investigate these labels as you search for upgrades that can cut down on energy expenditure.

However, a full replacement may be outside your budget. Even so, a DIY repair can make a difference in energy consumption and the overall sustainability of your home. 

Have a dishwasher that won’t start? Try repairing it yourself with an upgraded thermal fuse or drive motor. Repairs can help you maintain greater energy efficiency from an old unit, although there may be no suitable repair for an old power-sucking appliance. 

Where possible, upgrade your home with energy-efficient machines. The result can boost your ECP rating and drive up the value of your property. 

2. Use Reclaimed and Recycled Renovation Materials

Next, consider using reclaimed and recycled materials for the DIY projects you invest in. From your tools to your finishing touches, reusing materials can be a green and cheap method for home improvement.

Second-hand hardware stores and recycling centres are great sources for these materials. The essentials include power tools and safety equipment, and quality equipment will last a long time. Tungsten, for instance, is used to create water-hardening steel tools like drill bits and files that can be passed on from one DIY project to another without creating unnecessary waste.

Meanwhile, reclaimed wood can be the perfect way to enhance countertops or add trim to walls and ceilings on a budget. Every use of recycled materials conserves resources and can help save you money. 

Working with reclaimed and recycled materials on your home DIY project helps keep your project sustainable. The best part is you don’t have to sacrifice looks. Reclaimed wood and repurposed materials often provide character and texture that enhance the appearance of a space. 

3. Apply Low VOC Paints

Sustainable considerations do not end with renovation materials themselves, however. Paint is another aspect of clean DIY that every homeowner should evaluate. Some paints are toxic to the environment and to people. To avoid them, DIYers should look for low (or no) VOC paints. 

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are chemicals that can evaporate off the paint and into the air at room temperature to various negative health effects. These effects range from nausea to cancer. 

For healthier home renovations, seek out paint products that boast a complete lack of these toxic compounds. The result is better for yourself and the environment since fewer of these chemicals will seep into the air and water. 

Look for certified low or no VOC paints with green labels and certifications as you paint. Then consider how paint affects things like home energy efficiency and lighting.

4. Strengthen Your Insulation

Another one of the best ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption and carbon footprint is to strengthen its insulation. There are all kinds of areas in which heat escapes a home. Insulation minimises these openings to streamline energy efficiency and utilisation.

poorly insulated attic, for instance, can cause heat loss as great as 25% in the fall and winter months. By strengthening the insulation all throughout your home, you can gain sustainability benefits in the form of reduced energy expenditures. 

However, you might be concerned about the safety of some forms of insulation. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy and green alternatives. For example, ThermaCork has a negative carbon footprint as a product of the outer bark of oak trees. Additionally, recycled cellulose from newsprint can keep your home warmer or cooler, based on your needs.

5. Maximise Natural Lighting and Heating Potential

Like enhancing your insulation, maximising the natural lighting and heating potential of your home is a great sustainable project for any homeowner. That’s because these elements of a home determine its energy expenditure and carbon footprint. 

Lighting and heating a home costs energy, and while broader renewable energy integration is ongoing, we still mostly rely on fossil fuels. To maintain a more sustainable household, you’ll need to maximise your ability to capture and contain natural light and heat. 

There are a variety of projects you can do yourself that might achieve the desired effect. These include:

  • Using satin finish paints for greater light reflection
  • Installing windows
  • Tapping into geothermal heat
  • Installing solar panels

From the outside in, natural heat and light produce greater efficiency for any home. However, not all of these upgrades will fall within your experience and comfort level. Knowing when to call in the pros is an essential element of any sustainable DIY project. 

Knowing When to DIY and When to Call for Help

While we might all wish we could handle any home DIY project with skill, many of these sustainable enhancements require expertise that the average person doesn’t possess. For example, you might be comfortable working on an AC unit to clean it and change the filter. However, inspecting the electrical controls and terminals may go a bit over your head.

A sustainable DIY project is only sustainable if it doesn’t result in costly mistakes. Explore these projects as options for optimising your household and determine where a professional consultation has to be made.