Go Green, Stay Green – Eco-Friendly Renovation Tips

go green, eco friendly renovation tips. Child hugging a treeOnce the catchcry of nature loving ‘hippies’, GO GREEN has become a global movement and going green has become serious business.  In the building industry, regardless of whether it’s a brand new home or renovating an old weatherboard, today’s environmentally aware home-owner wants eco-friendly and value for money.

It’s all very well for building material suppliers to say, “Ah, but we source timber from dedicated timber plantations.”  Unfortunately, not every country does that, and some 46-58 thousand square miles of natural forest are lost each year – equivalent to 48 football fields every minute – according to worldwildlife.org.

The problem with trying to do the right thing is not everyone can afford it upfront and they don’t understand the false economy behind choosing the cheapest option first.  Items that are marked biodegradable or energy efficient, for example, are much more expensive than their less environmentally aware counterparts.  The same applies to the majority of ‘green’ products.  So how do you renovate ‘green’ while on a budget, and is the added upfront expense justifiable?

Green Renovation Tips

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sometimes, you have to compare the end result and environmental impact of throwing out and replacing a perfectly good appliance, or furniture, with something new and shiny.  This applies to everything, including floor and window coverings.  Save your money and the environment and only replace as needed.
  2. Need vs want. Don’t waste spare cash on trendy wants.  Keep to the needs on your list – plenty of time for luxury spending later when you can afford it. Investment in something that will save you money over the lifetime of the product makes better sense than buying something now because it’s in fashion for a season.
  3. Recycle.Reclaimed pavers, timbers, window and door frames are not just for the budget conscious.  It is good sense environmentally to use recycled materials from demolition companies, and likewise, you may be able to sell (or donate) your own unwanted materials.
  4. Need to buy new materials? Sometimes it is unavoidable, in which case insist your builder uses materials with low environmental impact – that is, it does not have a negative impact on resources that are not renewable or not easily renewable and does not negatively impact on the environment, wildlife or human health and wellbeing.
  5. Be superficial – facelift! Some items don’t need to be replaced and can be given a new lease of life with a simple coat of paint. Remodelling your kitchen?  You don’t HAVE to throw the entire thing out and start from scratch.  Consider just replacing cabinet doors and bench tops.  Ditto old houses – why destroy what can be given a new lease of life with more cost and environmentally effective means?
  6. Are there financial incentives? Depending on the State you live in, your State Government may offer financial incentives and rebates for switching to energy saving systems and appliances. Find out more about incentives for saving energy.
  7. Insulate. There is little sense in investing thousands in a ducted air conditioning system if your house leaks at window and door openings and your ceiling is not insulated.  A well-insulated home will retain warmth or coolness much more efficiently and cost-effectively than a non-insulated home – good for the planet AND for your wallet.
  8. Go Solar. Solar panels need little introduction.  If you can afford it, include solar panelling in your budget – you will get your money back and then some, especially if you are power-savvy and continue to pay attention to power saving rules.
  9. Let there be light! Before installing even more light fixtures and fittings, consider extra, well-placed window placements and skylights.  Compare flicking on a light switch versus opening a curtain.  Need we say more?
  10. Be Water Wise. In addition to buying white goods that are water efficient and energy efficient, consider rainwater tanks and a system for more efficient use of runoff from rain in winter, plus water efficient tapware.  Also, check your government water authority for your state’s rules on the use of ‘grey water’.

Recycled Composite Decking

At this time of year, a popular renovation is decking, and an excellent example of how spending extra now can save you later.  More environmentally-aware consumers combined with advances in technology have seen a rise in the introduction of recycled timber composite products.

Eco friendly decking from New Tech WoodCompanies like NewTechWood use recycling technology in the manufacture of their composite decking, cladding and screening products and every month their efforts alone are saving over five million kilos of plastic from being buried in landfills and saving forests into the bargain.

NewTechWood composite timber is manufactured with 60% carefully selected recycled timber and dense wood fibre, and 40% high-grade recycled plastics (HDPE) that allows for greater strength and durability.

And the ‘greening’ doesn’t stop there…NewTechWood composite has an advanced premium shield encasing ALL four sides around its inner core. The shield and core are extruded together under a very high-temperature mould simultaneously, so there are no adhesives or chemicals used that are harmful to the environment. This protective shield means there is no need for oil, paint or seal your NewTechWood deck – ever… thus still no need for hazardous chemicals – ever.  As the years go by, this is great news not only for the environment but also for your wallet.

NewTechWood composite does not release any harsh or toxic chemicals into the air and because it is termite resistant you never need to worry about expensive and toxic termite treatments either.

Yes, it costs more upfront than real timber from real forests – but the environment will thank you and you’ll definitely save over the lifetime of your deck! For more information browse the website or contact us.

Top Tips to Stay Safe This DIY Season

The footy season is over and there are no more excuses for delaying the completion of home maintenance and renovation projects.  Those who can’t do it themselves will hire a professional, and you can’t get much safer than that, but to the delight of many a local hardware store, this is the time of year when hordes of avid DIY fans also go shopping.

DIY home maintenanceAccording to Australian health and safety statistics, this is the time of year when the number of accidents around the home also increases – attributed to Do-it-Yourself enthusiasts.

Falling from ladders tops the list, followed closely by injuries from power tools and machinery, with a majority of accidents being attributed to men, particularly over 55 years of age.

Authorities warn that the more accident prone among us need to realise our limitations. If a task is not within our skill level or we don’t have the proper equipment or experience for the job, then leave it to the experts.

Top DIY Tips

For the keener (stubborn?) DIY-er who refuses to heed this advice, the following tips are for you:

  1. Ladder Do’s and Don’ts. ALWAYS place on a level and stable surface.  If you need to level one of the legs, don’t use a brick. Position timber blocks, recommended dimensions 400 x 200 x 50mm, beneath the leg.  Don’t try to extend your ladder by placing it on a higher surface, like beams balanced on sawhorses, or milk crates, for example. If you need to reach a higher place than your ladder can reach, hire an extension ladder.  Ensure you place the ladder against a secure surface and not somewhere it can slide or be knocked away.  You can also tie the ladder in place to prevent slipping or tipping. Never stand higher than the third rung from the top, and keep your centre of gravity between the side rails. Don’t over-reach or do exertive pulling or pushing that can throw you off balance. Likewise, don’t leave heavy tools perched precariously atop of ladders, waiting to fall on the head of unsuspecting passers-by below.
  1. Power Tools. Safety guards, clamps and locking clips are invented for a reason.  Use them.  There are horrendous stories of sheet metal and timber pieces becoming flying weapons, and people losing thumbs and fingers with electric saws because they tried to rush and thought they’d save seconds by ignoring the safety requirements.  Nail guns are probably best left to the professionals, but if you must use one, don’t rush.  Set the gun to the safe sequential-fire setting to avoid misfiring and shooting yourself or someone else by accident if you stumble.

Hammering, DIY home maintenance3. Hammering. Speaking of nails, you can avoid the risk of hammering your fingers by using a small blob of BluTack to hold small nails in place while you hammer them in. You can recycle the Blu-Tack, but not your fingers!

 

  1. Clothing. Don’t wear loose or floppy garments that can get caught in machinery. Footwear – if you value your toes, wear protective shoes – thongs don’t count. Tie your hair back if it is long and avoid wearing loose jewellery that can be caught in machinery or saws.
  1. Protective Gear – Do use earmuffs to protect your hearing when using noisy equipment.safety sign wear goggles Use eye goggles to protect your eyes from metal and sawdust when sawing and grinding. Use a face mask to avoid inhaling dangerous substances and dust particles, especially if you’re under your house or in the roof space where you can encounter toxic chemicals from pesticide use, asbestos, mould spores, rat droppings, etc.
  1. Essential Services. Don’t mess with electricity or plumbing – there is a reason why it is illegal to do your own and you must hire a licenced tradesman. Non-contact voltage testers are a must for checking if wires are live or not.
  1. Don’t play with Pressure Washers. These are not toys and can be very dangerous.  Many people with deep flesh wounds and scars where the water burst has literally painfully peeled back their flesh can attest to this!
  1. Know How to Lift Safely. Get help with heavy items.  And remember, lift with your knees, not your back.
  1. Beware the Critters! We’re talking wasps, spiders and snakes that can lurk in unexpected and rarely used spaces around your home, not to mention hazards such as chewed electrical cables exposing live wires, or termite damage that weakens structures – maybe the one you’re standing on!
  1. No Brainer. Keep all tools and equipment away from pets and children. This should be a no-brainer.

Popular DIY Task – Deck Maintenance

A popular DIY spring job is the annual deck maintenance.  If that is on your list of To-Do’s this spring, and if you have a timber deck already, chances are it is on your list and will be for the rest of your life.  If you’d rather it wasn’t, then check out a composite product like NewTechWood decking.  It is low maintenance – you never have to sand, seal, paint or varnish it – ever – unlike real timber which must be maintained regularly for its lifetime.

kids playing on composite deckAnd speaking of safety, NewTechWood composite decking comes with a valuable BAL29 Fire Rating and a Rll slip rating; AND you’ll never have to worry about splinters.  Also with its hidden fastener system, you will never have to worry about rusty or protruding nails, and with the option of the mini clip system, catching a stiletto heel in the decking gap is also a thing of the past.

Top this with a 25-year warranty and you can see why many DIY enthusiasts love NewTechWood, which is also fully capped providing full protection against UV damage, fading, water, staining, mould and termites.  You know what this means?  No more dangerous chemicals needed to treat your deck.  However, while NewTechWood offers the above tips on protecting your safety… the rest is up to you!