(BPT) - If you're thinking about making your next DIY home improvement project "green," but aren't sure how to achieve a balance of eco-friendly and affordability, there's good news. It's now easier than ever, especially when you do the work yourself with rented equipment and choose salvaged building materials for your project.
As you plan your next home improvement, here are some tips to help you ensure it's as green and cost-effective as possible:
* Rent rather than buy. While you probably have a respectable stock of basic DIY tools, some projects may call for equipment you don't have. Rather than buy new, try renting the tools you need. Renting is cheaper than buying new tools, especially if it's a specialized item you may not use again for a while, if at all. You'll also avoid the hassle of having to store larger tools between projects.
Renting is also green. When you get a tool from a rental company, you're basically sharing with other DIYers in your area, and that means cutting down on the energy use, materials consumption and pollution associated with producing, delivering and selling new tools.
* Seek salvaged materials. When you decide on a home improvement project, one of the first things you consider is what material you'll need. Before you hurry down to the home improvement store or lumber yard, however, consider if you can do your project with reclaimed materials.
Building a patio? Recycled bricks or pavers will do the job just as well as new, they cost less and they impart unique character that you just can't get from new materials. Installing a new wood floor in your family room? Wood flooring reclaimed from an old warehouse or barn not only reduces the amount of construction materials going into landfills, but it can give your floor an authentically rustic and historic flair. A simple online search can help you find suppliers of salvaged building materials in your area.
* Reuse from your own home. You don't always have to buy reclaimed materials from outside sources. Often, you have items in your own home that could be used in your DIY projects. The front walk might need to be redone with level pavers, but the old ones could work great for a backyard fire pit. The lumber from that fence you took down in spring could be turned into decorative seating for your deck this fall. The pedestal sink left over from your bathroom remodel could make a great ornamental birdbath for the garden.
Look for opportunities to reuse items you already have on hand - in creative new ways. You'll reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, save money on waste removal fees, and spare the expense of buying new building materials. And don't forget - you'll have extra storage room since you're renting tools, rather than keeping them lying around.
* Keep recycling in mind. Sometimes construction leftovers just can't be reused, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can't be recycled. The rusted tin ceiling you tore out of your 1920s home may never be useful again, but it can be recycled. As you're working on your DIY project, look for opportunities to recycle what you can't use. And if you do have to buy new materials, choose ones that could potentially be recycled some day in the future.