Tips on renovating an existing home to make it more sustainable.

  • Use natural products wherever possible such as jute and cork, and recycled timber instead of chipboard.
  • Choose timber products from sustainable plantations if you can't find enough recycled quantities.
  • When purchasing appliances choose energy-efficient or triple AAA rated ones. Rebates are often available.
  • Install a solar or heat pump hot water system.
  • Install a rainwater tank. Rebates can be available.
  • Install energy-efficient light globes and consider fluorescent lights for storage areas and garages.
  • Install lever or sensor activated taps.
  • Install energy efficient showerheads.
  • Install 'whole-of-house' electric timers for lights.
  • Install doors and windows with timber frames rather than metal ones. Metal loses heat more quickly in winter and increases heat retention in summer.
  • Choose untreated timbers wherever possible to reduce levels of toxic chemicals in your home.
  • Consider oiling rather than polishing floorboards to reduce toxicity levels.
  • Consider limewashing rather than painting walls to reduce toxicity levels.
  • Select building materials which have been pre-dryed, are quick drying, use water as the solvent or are classed as having low toxicity levels.
  • Choose sisal, coir or jute flooring materials instead of carpets.
  • Use plant, water or mineral based paints instead of oil-based paints and varnishes.
  • Use linoleum or cork glued with natural rubber latex.
  • Use builders and other contractors who are recommended as being environmentally sound. They can also guide you in purchasing products, furnishings and appliances.

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