If you are planning to build a sustainable home or renovate an existing home now is the time to investigate sustainable building options as there are many “environmentally friendly or “green” products that can reduce the cost of power bills, water bills heating bills and more.In building or renovating a sustainable home be sure to investigate thoroughly the products you wish to use. In particular aim for products with low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Volatile organic compounds contain chemicals that can affect human health as they increase toxins in your environment. Unfortunately VOC’s are everywhere – from PVC’s, adhesives, building materials and the list goes on…. Always check the label, and always check with your supplier that your product has as low a level of VOCs as possible.Kitchen and Bathroom DesignChoose bench tops that are made from recycled materials such as reconstituted concrete. This type of product is polished to a high gloss and comes in a wide range of colours and style patterns to choose from. They look simply stunning. I have this type of bench in my remodeled kitchen.Bench tops made from recycled glass is another option to consider as they will add a unique feature to your kitchen or bathroom bench tops. They too are available in a wide range of colours and styles.For kitchen and bathroom cupboards and cabinetry consider using recycled timbers. When finished and sanded, recycled timber products provide magnificent grains running through their veins and when finished with natural oils look stunning.Timber shutters also make an ideal solution to kitchen “drapes”. They can be installed so as to retract back to the sides of windows and so let in full light into the room. If you purchase shutters that close, this will provide insulation against cold or heat coming through windows or doors. Keep in mind that if your shutters retract you make the most of natural light flowing into your room.Pelmets above window shutters or drapes can also prevent drafts from coming into your home.Flooring:See if you can salvage timber flooring from homes that are being demolished, as they too look fabulous when installed, sanded back and finished with a natural oil.Keep in mind that every bit of recycled material you can use in your new sustainable home building or renovation is one more item that is not going to end up in landfill.Next week…Next week in Part 2 of this series I will discuss sustainable building options around solar energy, insulation, home painting and lighting options for you to consider.