Once the holidays end, the winter blues can set in with a vengeance. Many
people counteract them with home renovation and construction projects
of various sizes. This is a good strategy but if homeowners aren’t
careful, it could be wasteful. At The Eco Plumbers, we understand how
a little waste eventually builds up and adversely affects the general
environment. We want to show you how to be environmentally responsible
during your projects, so we’ve provided a few tips.
Use Recycled Materials
"Reduce, reuse, recycle" is a popular slogan in children's
movies and music. The credo is just as applicable, if not more so, for
adults. Almost any construction material you use from wood to rubber to
asphalt and metals, can be recycled. In fact, you can get ahead environmentally
speaking if you buy recycled materials before beginning a project. Many
lumber companies now use reclaimed and recycled wood for their floor samples
and other construction materials. Reclaimed wood furniture is also available
from several chains around the country. Recycled metals can be repurposed
into new, stronger pipes, siding and roofing material, or even updated
and transformed into modern furniture pieces.
Consider Alternate Energy Sources
Many people brush off alternative energy options such as solar or geo-thermal
energy as too expensive or ineffective. In fact, neither criticism is
true. These energy options are not only effective but will save money
in the long run. For example, some estimates indicate a traditional electric
bill could cost you as much as $2400 a year. In comparison, many solar
energy providers use a tiered pricing system where what you pay depends
on how many kilowatts of energy you actually use. Therefore, if it costs
$170 per month to offset 100% of your energy with solar panels, with incentives,
offsetting 50% of your energy costs would help you save 60% on your monthly
bill before incentives.
Geo-thermal energy is another great example of a money-saving energy source.
Geo-thermal energy works by converting the heat that already exists at
the Earth's core into renewable energy through reservoirs and "hot
spots" such as hot springs. This system traps water in porous rocks
and recycles it over and over as an energy source. Thus, your floors stay
heated throughout the winter and you save on heating bills.
Repurpose and Repair
To avoid waste, the EPA recommends that you try to repair furniture, fixtures,
and other items before replacing them. Repairs are often as labor-intensive
and satisfying as renovations and will save money. Repairs are usually
the more environmentally responsible choice in the long run as well. For
repairing frozen pipes by wrapping them in sturdy rags or towels soaked in warm water. Apply
heat until water pressure is restored.
If you can't repair an item or you feel it could be used differently,
consider a repurposing project. These can be done fairly inexpensively
with guidance from a hardware professional or other mentor. For example,
repurpose a bulky television cabinet into bookshelves, knickknack shelves,
or even a pet bed. Repurpose a large desk with several drawers into a
wine or liquor cabinet. Use parts of old drapes and other fabrics for
a quilt, afghan, or winter wraps.