Home Green Home: The Benefits of Green Home Renovations
By: Kristin Shuff
In 1972 Apollo 17 astronauts photographed “The Blue Marble,” the first full color photo of a sunlit Earth. It’s an iconic image that now—fifty years later—still serves as an indelible reminder to the world: We’re only as healthy as our home.
Protection and Sustainability
Climate change remains the existential crisis of our time.
There is a global urgency to enact meaningful solutions to remediate, protect and sustain the environment. And while much remains to be done, consumer activism is driving solutions on both global and local scales.
In the past year alone, traction has grown around efforts such as the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, World Economic Forum’s Trillion Trees movement, U.S. government funding increases for forest restoration and management programs and the launch of environmental equity advocacy for neighborhood greenspace development and urban forestry jobs training.
There is also continuing worldwide pressure for corporations, governments and NGOs to deliver impactful eco-friendly practices.
We’re at a green tipping point when it comes to home renovations
Individuals also want to do their part to help the environment. Research shows sustainable solutions begin at home.
Across all generations throughout the U.S. there is a committed desire to make housing more eco-friendly. In fact, according to a recent LightStream 2022 Home Improvement Trends Survey, more than 93% of homeowners see the benefits of undertaking renovations that have positive impacts on the environment.
With a rise in improvement projects across the U.S., 46% of homeowners shared that helping the environment is one of the key motivations driving their home improvement projects. Millennials and parents in particular are more likely to invest in sustainable home renovations. They not only recognize the environmental advantages, but also the family health benefits.
HOME GREEN HOME
|Parents living with children in their home are more likely to invest in sustainable home renovations.||Eco-Friendly Renovations (Millennials vs. Other Homeowners)|
|– 38% say that eco-friendly upgrades would improve the health of people living in their home (compared to 28% of Total Homeowners)||Home Appliance Upgrades |
– 70% of Millennials vs. 56% of Total Homeowners
Energy Efficient Exterior Door Installations
– 66% of Millennials vs. 44% of Homeowners
Eco-friendly landscape upgrade
– Millennials: 64%
– Total Homeowners: 44%
Environmental Benefits of Wood Construction
While it may seem counterintuitive, one proven way to make a home more sustainable is by building and furnishing it with materials made of wood. How can using wood for renovations be eco-friendly?
American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the United States, shared some insight around the use of wood in homes. Wood products store carbon. U.S. forests and wood products together sequester and store enough carbon to cancel out 17% of nationwide carbon emissions from fossil fuels every year. Wood products alone, including lumber, account for 11% of this climate benefit from our forests.
“The longer a wood product lasts, the more effective it is at keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and helping to slow climate change,” says Kendall DeLyser, director of climate science at American Forests. “Products used in home or building construction are particularly good examples because they can last for many decades.”
The best wood to use is produced through sustainable forestry practices, in which foresters grow more trees than they harvest and manage their forests in ways that keep them healthy long-term. Homeowners looking to buy wood can check to see if manufacturers, products, or furniture are certified by entities such as the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Another advantage to using wood is that the processes to manufacture it for use in building projects emit less carbon than those used for non-wood building materials. Using wood instead of those more emissions-intensive materials (like concrete and steel) provides additional climate benefits by helping avoid some of those carbon emissions.
Once a construction project is finished, homeowners are also choosing eco-friendly furniture options. In 2019, the global eco-friendly furniture market was valued at $35.2 billion with a trajectory to grow to $59.82B by 2027.*
Consumers are drawn to furniture produced using sustainable materials and minimal amounts of chemicals. In fact, several national furniture lines now utilize wood harvested from urban reuse projects or urban forestry, which lengthens the life of wood as well as its climate benefits.
Green Home Renovations: Key Takeaways
With more environmentally-aware decisions and investments, consumers can reduce their carbon footprints and help fight climate change, ensuring a healthy home for many generations to come.
As LightStream survey data forecasts 20% of homeowners plan home additions and 40% will undertake outdoor renovations this year, there are eco-friendly opportunities in every renovation decision.
Whether you are making major changes or simple updates, eco-friendly choices should remain in critical focus, as they have been since the Blue Marble was revealed to us 50 years ago.
About the Author: Kristin Shuff is a Senior Vice President at LightStream.com, a leading U.S. based online consumer lender. LightStream has a virtually paperless financing process and is dedicated to helping the environment. The company has an American Forests partnership to plant a tree every time it funds a loan, totaling over one million trees – and counting.
*Source: Eco-friendly Furniture Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis 2020-2027, Grand View Research