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How to Make Repairs Eco-Friendly: Greenpeace Recommendations

An environmentally friendly renovation is the one that has the least negative impact on both the environment and the future tenants of the apartment/house. Of course, sustainability will depend on the materials you choose and how you use them. When choosing materials, give preference to those that have eco-certification. The presence of a type I eco-label means that the product is manufactured in compliance with certain standards and does not harm the environment throughout the entire life cycle: from the extraction of raw materials to utilization.

Doors and Windows Installation

Most likely, you will be challenged to select between PVC and wooden windows/doors. In all respects (and even in price, if local producers are preferred), the wooden alternatives win. When ordering the windows and doors installation & replacement on https://buildmart.ca/, consider picking the wooden items, and here is why:

  • oil is used in the PVC production – a non-renewable natural resource, which contributes to global climate change;
  • the production of PVC windows and doors creates more waste, some of which cannot be recycled;
  • the production of PVC windows or doors requires more energy than the manufacture of similar wooden products;
  • during operation, PVC windows and doors are capable of releasing vinyl chloride (a carcinogenic compound) and plasticizers into the air; they are required to give PVC the necessary properties.

PVC volumes in construction waste are steadily increasing. A wooden window can become compost or pellets, an energy resource that can replace oil, coal, gas, etc. 

Floor Covering

Choose natural substrates for flooring: coniferous and cork. The most non-environmentally friendly option is foamed polyethylene and polystyrene. Linoleum can be eco-friendly and safe if you look for eco-labels. Such linoleum is made from natural fibres (for example, hemp, or linen). Everything else is just floor coverings, among which some are not very environmentally friendly (for example, PVC-based coatings). The laminate has four layers and may contain cheap and toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde resin. Look for safe, high-quality, eco-certified laminate flooring. Lacquered solid wood boards and natural parquet are more sustainable, but also more expensive options.

Finishing Materials

Choose materials that will last a long time. Conventional paints often contain fungicides and biocides. Fungicides are added to prevent mould growth, and biocides are added as preservatives to extend shelf life. Both components are toxic. Biocides may still be present in the air for up to five years after the paint has been applied. Before you buy paint, carefully read the composition on the package. Eco-friendly paint:

  • has a low content of VOC (volatile organic compounds);
  • has a low content of biocides;
  • has natural pigments.

It is better to avoid oily paints – they have a high VOC content. Water-based, acrylic, and latex paints are considered relatively safe.

Don’t forget to consider the installation of the energy-efficient lighting options – it is better to use LED lamps, as they are more economical and durable. Good luck!

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