Tag Archive | "renovation"

Eco renovation dilemmas

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After moving into our first home, a 3-bed terrace in Worthing, we are finally getting around to doing some work on it. Up until now, we might as well have been living in rented accommodation as we still have the previous residents’ carpets and wallpaper in situ, as well as their cooker, fridge, lampshades and curtains!

Of course, as a trying-to-be-green girl, I’m keen for us to do the renovations in as eco-friendly a way as possible… but the inevitable purse implications are hitting before we’ve even peeled off the first strip of wallpaper (which, incidentally, covers the entire house, all walls and ceilings too!).

So I’m posting here in the hope that fellow green girls will offer us some support and inspiration and perhaps their own eco home stories!

Our first job is to replace the big window in our kitchen (that doesn’t open!) with French doors onto the back garden, and replace the back door with a window. As we’ll be taking out the original PVC frames, now is the time to think about materials for the new frames.

At first, we were considering soft wood but due to the position of the doors (south facing, lashed by wind and rain and burnt by the sun) our builder advised against this option as they would need treating every year and would need replacing in about 5 years anyway.

We then headed over to www.greenspec.co.uk who advise the following:

First choice:• FSC durable temperate hardwood • FSC temperate softwood treated with plant based paint systems
Second choice: • FSC temperate softwood clad with recycled Aluminium
If you are compromised: • Use a certified softwood painted with low VOC paint
Avoid: • PVC • Aluminium without thermal breaks.

We had already ruled out the softwood options so headed over to local Sussex business, The Green Wood Company to check out hardwood frames. The staff were lovely and we were really hopeful until we opened the envelope and the quote tumbled out… £4000. A similar enquiry to another local company produced an even bigger quote.

uPVC, GreenSpec’s ‘one to avoid’ is suddenly looming large on our window frame horizon.

The issue is not just the money. We also have to bear in mind (as our parents have been quick to point out!) that this is not our lifelong home. We would hope to be here probably another 5 years. Imagine if we invested in hardwood only to have it ripped out by the next residents and replaced with uPVC to match the other windows in the house. Would it then have been better to have gone for uPVC in the first place? The mind boggles…

At the moment, we have our builder seeking out hardwood and uPVC quotes for us for comparison and in case he can get a better price – so the work is on hold. But if anyone has any suggestions or advice we would love to hear them – post your comments below!

Wood on Worthing beach

Wood washed up on Worthing beach – isn’t there enough for our windows?!

Take care,


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