Google+ Authentic Parenting: Green Renovating: A Lot, A Little, Not So Much

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Renovating: A Lot, A Little, Not So Much

Welcome to the April edition of the Simply Living Blog CarnivalGoing Green cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about going green and environmentally friendly living. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.


Eco renovating series
When you decide about green renovating or building, there are a couple of things you have to take into consideration. The major components in an environmentally friendly renovation project are time, style, price, health and environmental impact.
Obviously time, style and price are very personal, and I won't go into those with this post.

I wanted to talk about healthy versus environmentally friendly.

Contrary to what many believe, they are not one and the same. Sometimes environmentally friendly products can be bad for you health.
Think about products using recycled content. Great for the environment, doing something with waste instead of just having it lay there, but the toxicity of the initial content didn't diminish, just by being recycled.

The same thing goes with using 'environmentally friendly' products.
When making a decision one must take the time to look very closely at the products you are about to use. What part of the process is environmentally friendly? Is it also good for your health? What substances does your product contain?

It also has to be noted that even natural substances can be toxic to man and impair the air quality in your home. Certain toxins can be filtered out by using plants, but it's better not to invite them into your home in the first place. 

This is all very superficial, I know, I just wanted to write something general before I go in depth in further posts, because you really have to go look at every specific material in depth and it will take several posts to go into this.
When you go beyond the very basics of materials that have always been used by man since time immemorial (earth, plant, untreated timber), there will always be toxins involved. In order to live completely toxin free, one should have an idea of every step in the production process of every product one is about to use, and in a complex global market, this is hardly ever the case.
In a renovation project, you're bound to have to use products that work for the existing structure, and you often will not be able to only use the basic unspoiled materials.

For us, health and time were two important factors in our renovation project, which means that at some points, we had to use materials that were less 'green' than what I would pick if I had full options, and at some points, the greener alternative just turned out to be less healthy.

I find solace in the fact that at least I am trying to make an effort.


Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating eco-friendly living solutions into their every day lives. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Going Green!

  • Green Renovating: A Lot, A Little, Not So Much - Laura at Authentic Parenting ponders about the many things that have an impact on eco-friendly renovating
  • Growing Native in My Flower Beds - Destany at They Are All of Me takes the guilt out of her flower habit by switching from high maintenance flowers to native plants which not only lessens her gardening load, but also benefits the local wild life.
  • Baby Steps - Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares how her family became more sustainable, one step at a time.
  • A Greener Holiday - Sara from Family Organic discusses the overwhelming amount of "stuff" that comes with every holiday and talks about how to simplify instead. 
  • Forcibly Green--Obligatory Organic - Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about her family's evolution from passive to active green and sustainable living.
  • Giving It Away - Juliet Kemp of Twisting Vines writes about the role of Freecycle, the giant karmic lending library, in her simple and green living.
  • Simply Sustainable - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses her family's attempts to live in harmony with the earth by living simply and more sustainably.
  • How Does Your Yarden Grow - Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassafras writes about an ongoing permaculture project, converting her grass lawn into a mower-free paradise.
  • Green? - Is it about ticking the boxes?  sustainablemum shares her thoughts on what being green means in her life.
  • Using Cloth Products To Reduce Household Waste - Angela from Earth Mama's World shares how her family replaced many disposable household products with cloth to reduce their household waste.
  • Going Green in Baby Steps - Joella of Fine and Fair shares some small, easy steps to gradually reduce your environmental impact.
  • Are You Ready To Play Outside?! - Alex from AN Portraits writes about gardening, and playing in the dirt, and how it's O.K. to get dirty, play in the dirt, play with worms, for both adults and kids.



  1. Can't wait to read more about this topic!

    1. good news for you then, as I'm writing a post that should be up somewhere this week

  2. Oh wow, I love your point that naturally occurring chemicals can still be toxic. Quite right!

  3. I think you raise a valid point. For instance, new buildings have very little drafts, which is great for energy conservation and therefore the outdoor environment. However, they also don't allow for airflow, which causes greater indoor pollution, which isn't healthy for us. I think we have to consider all aspects when making decisions and finding a balance which works for us.

    1. in Belgium, for the reason you mention above, you are obliged to install a ventilation system. In our renovation project we opted out of that because I think it's a better idea to just open windows frequently

  4. I can't wait to hear more! We are considering (for the first time ever) building a house in the next few years. A major priority for us is doing it in the most sustainable and healthy way. I'll be watching for follow ups!

    1. I'll try to tackle most of the building/renovating options in the next couple of months, so look out for that. The article I have in the pipeline is about flooring options

  5. I'm curious to see what comes next. One for our favorite home renovation finds was insulation made from recycled denim--and low-VOC.


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