When designing, renovating and repairing our homes, we can all put into practice solutions that will help lead to a more sustainable future. So, how do we get started?  Here are some tips to designing a sustainable home.

4 Tips to Designing a Sustainable Home

sustainable design Includes Quality Furniture

You probably notice the style, layout and colour when entering in a beautifully designed room. However, what you may not see matters, too. For instance, high-quality construction and durability of furnishings. The economics of purchasing better quality furniture for longevity and sustainability is a step toward a healthy home. For example, it’s better to invest in one well-made sofa than purchasing, and disposing of, several poorly made sofas. Well-designed, quality furnishings endure.

Buy Locally when Designing a Sustainable Home

Investing in Canadian-made furniture is the smart choice. Both, economically and ecologically. You may pay more upfront, but your investment will last. Also, shopping locally reduces the carbon footprint and strain on the environment from importing goods from outside of the country.

Choose Cradle-to-Cradle Home Products

Many home product designers are following the guidelines of cradle-to-cradle design. It involves planning the entire life cycle of a product, like the cycle of nature. At the end of the life of a product, it can be recycled and returned to the earth biologically. Or, it can be re-utilized into new products technically. For example, products such as cradle-to-cradle countertops and carpet tiles are available on the market today.

Upgrade or Repair Home Energy Wasters

When a designer comes to your home, they are taking in the whole picture, your entire residence and how you use it. A house is a system with lots of moving parts. Each part is interdependent on the other to work.

  • Building frame and components are the body. For example, the walls, furnace and windows.
  • Home inputs. For example, energy, water and furniture.
  • Home outputs. For example, waste, sewage, heat and gases.

All of these parts are connected. The activities inside the system, like heating, cooking, eating, and sleeping, affect the inputs and outputs. For instance, if your home isn’t well-insulated, you’re losing the energy used to heat or cool it. Also, a poorly designed kitchen layout with outdated appliances uses more energy (both environmental and mental) than a well-functioning space.

If your home is old, there are some easy choices to make when upgrading or repairing energy wasters. For instance, choose high-efficiency Energy Star appliances, draft proof windows, and install low-flow fixtures. Additionally, turn off lights when you leave a room (if it’s empty) and switch to warm LED lights. Plus, use more natural fibres such as down, wool and cotton. Compost! Don’t rinse and repeat all the time.

The goal of good sustainable design goes beyond style, layout and colour. Sustainable design helps us save energy, use water efficiently, and reduce carbon emissions. Moreover, it helps reduce waste in landfills while protecting natural resources. As the song goes, don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. The key to designing a sustainable home is making good choices for the future.

By Jane Lockhart, Principal Designer at Jane Lockhart Design | Produced by RENO & DÉCOR

Launched in 1990, RENO & DECOR is Canada’s Home Idea Book, inspiring readers with the latest in tips and trends for their decorating and renovating.

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