Photo: Lennart Johansson

Building and renovation

Choose the right materials and take care of the remains when you build and renovate. This way your projects will be more climate smart.

Choose the right material

Whether you build something new or renovate something old, you probably need many different materials and chemical products.

  • Make sure not to select a floor made of PVC containing Phthalate plasticizers.
  • Check so that your vinyl flooring does not contain Phthalates.
  • Avoid everything marketed as having undergone an antibacterial treatment, such as countertops, refrigerators, and door handles. This often means that the product contains pesticides that are damaging to the environment. It also contributes to bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics, one of the major health problems of our time.
  • Look for products approved by BASTA, the database of the construction sector. They provide information about nearly 160,000 safe and non-toxic products.

Keep track of paints and solvents

Paints usually contain many hazardous substances. This is also true for water-based paints where preservatives are always included. These preservatives are mostly toxic; they damage processes in sewage treatment plants and affect animal life in the sea.

  • Choose an environmentally friendly paint. There are many kinds to choose from, often marked with the EU-flower, the EU’s ecolabel. Products marked with an ecolabel contain a minimum of environmentally damaging substances.
  • Never pour environmentally hazardous substances such as solvents, paints or oils in the toilet, sink, or floor drain. Instead, take them to a toxic waste recycling facility.
  • Put rollers and paintbrushes in sealed plastic bags when you take a break from painting with water soluble paints. This way, you don’t need to clean the tools more than necessary.
  • If you want to reuse your tools, roll off as much paint as possible on a piece of paper. Throw the paper in the burnable waste.
  • If the paint is water soluble, save the rinse water in a jar and let the paint pigments sink to the bottom. Carefully pour off the clear water. Deposit the paint residue at the toxic waste recycling facility. Remember to write its content on the jar.

Fix your roof and facade

  • Choose materials for your facade and roof that do not contaminate rain water. For instance, do not use copper sheeting or unpainted zinc surfaces.
  • Consider investing in a “Green Roof”,  a roof dressed with plants. Plants delay runoff when it rains, and allow some precipitation to evaporate. Sedum plants are especially suitable for green roofs. Sedum roofs are also good for biodiversity.
  • Install drainage that re-distributes rainwater throughout the garden. This is better than allowing rainwater to run into storm drains.