How to plan an eco-friendly renovation

Planning a project? There are some clever ways to make your renovation more eco-friendly. Read on…

The basics of creating an eco-friendly renovation boils down to two main things: eco materials and longevity. However, if you want to dig a little deeper, there are a few more considerations…

The kitchen

While you can run yourself ragged with all the eco decisions that need to be made, it makes sense to start with the kitchen cabinets. And, then you need to think about the raw materials. Consider where the kitchen is manufactured, what type of paint is used and how the hardware and hinges are made. Adding sustainability to the checklist is really worthwhile and one of the main components of this is the materials used.

Unfortunately, perfect products are few and far between, but look at the eco credentials of companies you are buying from. Selena Quick, founder of kitchen design studio PAD London, suggests: “Look for brands with measurable sustainability efforts in place, not just green-washing statements such as their ethical credentials.”

When you find a brand you like, dig a little deeper and see if you can find if they have any independent certifications. For wood it will usually be from the Forest Stewardship Council or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

Appliances have a standard UK energy label, but currently there is no official certification for bathroom products. Some companies elect to use the Unified Water Label, to show water usage.

Kitchen in dark blue with natural wood features
Handmade in the UK, the Sebastian Cox Kitchen from Devol is built from sustainable timbers to ramp up its eco credentials as well as its style points. Prices start from £15,000. Learn more about eco kitchens here..

Eco-friendly renovation: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Remember that old phrase: reduce, reuse, recycle? Well, it is an excellent mantra to live by when creating an eco-friendly renovation. So look at ways to reduce your impact, whether it’s buying locally and reducing transportation. Also look at ways of reducing waste during the installation phase.

Work out whether there is anything in your current home you can reuse. Can you keep your appliances for a few more years – or can some existing brassware in the bathroom be reused in the new design? And if the kitchen layout doesn’t need changing, maybe you could simply repaint or replace the doors.

While choosing your new kitchen for your eco-friendly renovation, spare a thought for the old one. What will happen to it? Hopefully, the answer is not smashed to pieces and dumped in a skip. There are several companies, like Rehome or The Used Kitchen Company, who will sell your old kitchen for you. It’ll give you extra cash for your renovation and save on the skip hire.

Recycling is a two-fold problem. The first is ensuring you recycle everything from the installation process – from the old furniture to the cardboard packaging of your new items. The second part is to create recycling points in the new design. And look into waste-disposal units, such as those from Insinkerator, which help flush food waste down the drain, therefore saving it from landfill.

eco-friendly renovation sustainable bathroom design
Silestone Hybriq+ surfaces are manufactured using 99 per cent recycled water and 20 per cent recycled materials to create a durable product. Sunlit Days in Posidonia Green and Cala Blue, from £300 per sq m, Cosentino.

Timeless designs

Your kitchen or bathroom renovation can last several decades, so it’s worth doing some forward thinking. Spare a thought for your future self and be mindful, too, that styles will change.

“Start with a bespoke design that will be relevant for years to come,” says Nathan Kingsbury, creative director at the eponymous design company. “Avoid trends that have a brief life and instead opt for something beautiful that has been thoughtfully designed.”

Finally, look at every aspect of your design and think about your choices carefully. How good will those products look in the years to come?

Click here to find out how to ensure your kitchen won’t date

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