The Cheapest Green Home Renovations

The outline of a house made out of tools on grass.

Whether you're expanding your home or completing other home renovations, keeping the cost down while also keeping it environmentally friendly may feel like an impossible task. However, green remodeling is one great way to remodel a home and come in under budget. How so? It's all about smart shopping and keeping in mind the three R's: recycle, repurpose, and refurbish. Here's a few ideas to keep your green home renovations inexpensive, but still functional.

Use Reclaimed Wood

A white sofa on a reclaimed wood floor.

Flooring can be very costly, but reclaimed wood is less expensive than typical wood flooring options since it's already been through the production process. Obviously, reclaimed wood saves trees from being sacrificed, which makes it a great choice for those who want to keep ecological systems intact. Just be sure that when you look for reclaimed wood it's free of formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals that are found in the adhesives and sealants. Also, flooring isn't the only area in which reclaimed wood will work. Consider using it for countertops, sliding doors, or even landscaping in the garden.

Keep the Heat in Your Home

Low-E glass is a wonderful product. It has a special coating that will let the sun in but keep the heat out, reducing energy loss by half. The downside is that it can be expensive—but it's still possible to get this green renovation added to your home cheaply by using a window film that has the e-coating instead of buying all new windows.

Don't Replace—Reface!

A man standing in a kitchen holding a paint roller.

Cabinets are a big part of most home renovations, but they make it hard to stay eco-friendly. It is possible, however. Instead of replacing cabinets, consider refacing them. Repainting them is the least expensive option, and with low VOC paints you're still staying earth friendly. But if they're not in good enough shape to even do that, refacing them is another great possibility. Saving your old cabinets will keep them out of the dump and keep more trees where they belong.

Get Creative With Recycling and Repurposing

Need a new sink, light fixture, door knob or other small item to help renovate your home? These little things add up in cost fast. Finding used items will help keep that cost down. This is the recycling part of the three R's, but you can apply the repurpose 'R' to this as well by thinking outside the box. Can't find the perfect sink, or at least one that's not totally rusted out? Find a unique old bowl and get creative. Add some old fashioned charm to the kitchen with antique silverware for drawer pulls. When you put your mind to it, there's a lot that you can do with things that weren't originally intended for the purpose you have in mind. (And they make great conversation pieces, too.)

Let There Be Light and Power

A white bedroom with a skylight.

Adding solar panels and skylights to your home may not sound like a cheap green renovation project—until you consider the savings to your energy costs. Even if you only have a few, solar panels can help provide power for small appliances or things like fountains and sprinklers in your yard, while the skylights can add light and even help keep colder areas of the home warm.