While almost everyone appreciates and admires the style and classic appeal of an old home renovation, a lot of people hesitate to buy older houses. This used to baffle me, especially when I looked at how cheap and flimsy a lot of new houses are these days. But then I realized what some people were reacting to: old homes were built to last, but they weren’t built to be energy efficient or eco-friendly.
These days, everyone cares about leaving behind a better world for their kids, and I definitely feel this way, too. So I understand when people are worried that buying an old home will mean wasting tons of energy and increasing their carbon footprint. That’s why Andy and I work really hard to make our renovations more eco-friendly. Here are a few things we do on our kitchen renovations that make them more sustainable.
Opt for Sustainable Flooring
Flooring is a big place where you can get more sustainable in the kitchen. If you’re going with natural materials, you can ensure that your wood is sustainably sourced by checking to see that it’s FSC-certified. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approves and certifies businesses that source and harvest their wood in an eco-friendly and responsible manner. You can also go a step farther with hardwood floors by going with wood that’s locally sourced or reclaimed.
Bamboo is another good idea, as it can look just like hardwood, but it doesn’t take years to grow. Cork is another option, as well, but there are also good options for tile.
Get FSC-Certified Cabinets
The FSC doesn’t just certify the wood used for flooring. They work with all kinds of wood products, so you can ensure that your cabinets are sustainable, too, by checking if they’re FSC-certified.
For both your cabinets and flooring, another great way to be more sustainable is to opt for products that will really last. The hardness of wood floors is rated on the Janka scale, from 22 to 5000. The higher the number, the harder the wood; the harder the wood, the longer it will last and the less susceptible it’ll be to dings, dents, and other damage. The more durable your cabinets and flooring are, the less likely you (or your buyers) will need to replace them within a few years.
Update Your Large Appliances
I love the way antique refrigerators look, but I’d never want to put one in my kitchen. That’s why I always focus on choosing updated, energy-efficient models. While your buyers might not notice that you’ve gone with more sustainable materials for your cabinets and flooring right away, they’ll definitely notice when they see a more efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, and stove. Always opt for Energy Star approved appliances so that your buyers can see that they won’t be wasting a lot of their utility bills on the kitchen.
Go With Energy-Saving Lighting
Finally, there are a lot of really attractive LED and compact fluorescent options for lighting that will be more attractive and more energy efficient than traditional incandescent or long-tube fluorescent lights. Keep these in mind as you shop for your light fixtures, and you’ll show your buyers that you’ve taken the steps to make their newly renovated old home as energy efficient and sustainable as any new home built today.
These are just a few of the things that I like to include and consider on any kitchen renovation. What do you think? Do you have specifically sustainable details that you like to include in your renovations?