Friday, 15 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green House Renovation Ideas

Week 16 - 7 Green ways to renovate your house

When we moved to France our idea was to open a gite (holiday cottage) by renovating an old building thus breathing new life into a derelict building.  We also wanted to do the renovation in the greenest way possible within our budget.  The result, Eco-Gites of Lenault, was the result of our work and now welcomes families from all over the world who can come and to our quiet corner of Normandy, knowing their holiday will not cost the earth.  If you are doing looking to do some renovation on your house here are 7 ideas you can use that will help the environment at the same time.

7 ways to green your house renovation

1.  Insulation

Heating your home uses large amounts of energy so adding thick layers of insulation will help keep your heating costs down ... and in the summer will help keep your house cooler.  25% of your heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof so this is a good place to start.  The ideal depth of the insulation depends on the type use so check with the manufacturer and check you have enough.  Also consider under floor insulation, lagging water pipes/hot water tanks and even putting up thick, lined curtains which help reduce heat loss through windows.  

2. Use Eco-Paints

Choose paints that are kind to both your health and the environment - this can actually be a bit of a nightmare as there is so much involved in paint but this eco paint article from The Guardian helps clarify terms and what you should be looking for.   You can also make your own paint based on milk if you want although we found it was best painted direct onto plaster and it not work on lining wallpaper.

3.  Use reclaimed, second hand and eco-approved materials

A lot of the wood in the gite was reclaimed from another local barn that was being renovated and was not wanted there - we also rescued what we could from the existing barn although sadly, the floor boards were all too rotten to use ... but they are still providing us with kindling to light our wood burners!   Visit your local reclaim/salvage yard and you'll find a wealth of fabulous materials.  If you need new materials chose those that come from sustainable sources and where possible use natural materials.   And why not have a go at renovating something old or upcycling it into something new.  We rescued an old school desk from a school who was throwing it is a skip and now, with its legs shortened it makes a lovely coffee table.  For inspiration Pinterest is a great place to start.

4.  Donate unwanted items

The kitchen in the gite came from friends who were having a new one and would otherwise probably have thrown it is the skip.  Other furniture came from a friends who were leaving the area and happily gave us pieces of furniture ... all now enjoying a new lease of life.  If you have items you don't want try and pass them - some you may be able to sell or others just give away.  It all keeps stuff out of landfill. 

5.  Use energy efficient appliances

This way you'll keep your electricity costs down year after year.  Look for washing machines with short cycles and low temperatures, dishwashers you can stop before the drying cycle and really well insulated freezers etc.

6.  Increase natural light levels

This will enable to to use less lights in the house so think about adding sky lights and light tubes as well as light-coloured paints and mirrors to increase light levels indoors.

7. Plant up an eco friendly garden

Don't just restrict your eco-renovations to the house - you can apply the same principals to the garden.  At Eco-Gites of Lenault we constructed garden walls and decking with reclaimed railway sleepers and pots of plants grow on an old milk churn and chimney pot.  When planting consider plants that attract wildlife and if possible, find some space to grow a few vegetables.  This blog post shows you 7 places you can grown veg even if you don't have a garden.

Have you undertaken any house renovations recently and if so do you have any tips for how you can do this whilst being kind to the environment?

A Green and Rosie Life

A Green and Rosie Life


  1. We all know that the world is becoming polluted as time goes by but there are always people who cares about the environment. These tips are very affordable and, indeed, environment-friendly. A garden will always make a home look fresh and attractive. Thank you for sharing this.


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