If you’re currently living in a home that hasn’t been built within the past 20 years, you know it probably isn’t anywhere close to being zero net. If you want to find ways to make your home more sustainable, you don’t have to rebuild your house. Start with using eco-friendly materials for your home’s exterior.
Materials that can be Recycled
When you need to buy new gutters, downspouts, a roofing system, or siding, it’s important to look for products manufactured from recycled materials. Gutters made from recycled aluminum keep metals out of landfills and reduce the amount of new aluminum that is produced. An ideal gutter material, copper is sustainable – removed from the ground as a raw material, then processed, it can be fully recycled at the end of its lifespan. Composite wood siding and asphalt roofing shingles are other examples of home exterior products that can be recycled when new siding and/or a roof are needed.
Products made from Recyclables
Building a new deck? Would like a backyard gazebo? Did the gutters need replacing two years ago? If you buy products made from recycled materials, this means less materials heading for dump sites when the deck, gazebo or gutter system finally needs to be replaced. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that are produced during the manufacturing process of natural resources, and it saves water and fuel used to process those resources.
Environmentally Conscious Companies
Where do the building materials you use for your home’s exterior come from and how are they produced? When you deal only with environmentally conscious companies, you ensure that the products and services you purchase are approved by manufacturers and used buy construction contractors who are committed both to their customers and to the environment.
Commit to Using Green Materials
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, commit to using green materials for any of your DIY projects. When hiring a contractor to do a home renovation, ask for green materials when building a new addition or replacing home exterior elements such as siding or the gutters.
Remember the Three Rs
Waste not, want not! When replacing components of your home’s exterior such as gutters, the roof, or wood siding, there are creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle these materials. Before the gutter installation company removes the old gutter system from your property, rescue some of the gutter sections to make a gutter garden. Old wood siding can be made new again when you turn it into a picnic table with benches, planter boxes, or raised garden beds. Use roofing tiles to add decorative elements to your home’s exterior such as asphalt shingles to make a welcome mat or turn slate and clay tiles into flower pots and art sculptures. Most types of roofing tiles also make good materials for inexpensive pathways.