Many Americans living with disabilities face daily challenges in their own homes, which may not be fully accessible or adapted to their needs. It’s crucial to ensure that their living environments are comfortable and tailored to their unique requirements. Some individuals may consider moving to or building an accessible home, while others might prefer to modify their existing homes to better suit their requirements.
What if we told you that making your home more accessible could also be an opportunity to make it eco-friendly? When planning home modifications for people with disabilities, incorporating sustainable practices and materials can lead to a greener, more environmentally friendly space. In this article, we’ll explore various ways to create an accessible, eco-friendly home for individuals with disabilities and their caretakers while providing valuable resources to help make the transition smoother and more affordable.
Designing Eco-Friendly Homes With Accessibility In Mind
Creating an accessible home for people with disabilities doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. In fact, numerous eco-friendly modifications can be made to improve accessibility and promote sustainability. Below are eight ways to make your home both accessible and eco-friendly.
Energy Efficient Windows
Installing energy-efficient windows that can be easily opened from a seated position not only improves accessibility but also helps reduce energy consumption. Look for reputable window replacement companies that offer eco-friendly options.
Wheelchair Accessible Doorways
Widen doorways while using sustainable materials to create wheelchair-friendly access to hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. This not only improves mobility but also promotes the use of eco-conscious materials.
ENERGY STAR HVAC And Smart Thermostat
Replace your old heating and cooling system with an ENERGY STAR-certified HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system and a smart thermostat that can be controlled from a phone or tablet. This upgrade can significantly reduce energy usage, as heating and cooling often account for nearly half of a home’s energy consumption.
Lower Countertops With Sustainable Materials
Lower countertops for easier reach using sustainable materials, and remove previous materials that might be harmful to the environment. For instance, opt for countertops made with recycled materials rather than non-renewable granite, which can emit radon gas if not sealed properly.
Eco-Friendly Wheelchair Ramps
Replace outdoor stairs with wheelchair ramps made from eco-friendly materials or consider using portable ramps. This modification enhances accessibility while minimizing the environmental impact.
Solar Panel Installation
Installing solar panels is an excellent method for enhancing energy efficiency in your home. This not only reduces environmental impact but also offers financial benefits. By choosing solar energy, you can take advantage of the current 30% tax credit available for residential solar panel installations, making this an attractive and eco-friendly option for homeowners.
Water-Saving Bathroom Fixtures
Upgrade to water-saving bathroom fixtures, such as low-flow toilets and faucets, which can significantly reduce water consumption. This sustainable modification not only benefits the environment but also improves accessibility for those with limited mobility.
Choose eco-friendly flooring options like cork, bamboo, or reclaimed wood. These materials are sustainable and provide a softer and more comfortable surface for individuals who use wheelchairs or have difficulty standing for extended periods.
By implementing these eco-friendly home modifications, you can create a more accessible and environmentally friendly living space for people with disabilities. These changes improve the quality of life for individuals with limited mobility and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future for all.
Organizations That Assist With Sustainable Home Modifications
Numerous organizations are dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities in making sustainable home modifications. These groups recognize the importance of creating accessible and eco-friendly living spaces that are tailored to the unique needs of people with disabilities. By providing financial support, resources, and expert guidance, these organizations empower individuals to make meaningful changes to their homes. Through their efforts, they help to promote a more inclusive society where people with disabilities can live comfortably and independently while also contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.
We’ll explore some of these organizations below.
Rebuilding Together is a nonprofit organization that provides critical home repairs, modifications, and improvements to low-income homeowners, including those with disabilities. They focus on creating safe, healthy, and energy-efficient homes. With a network of affiliates across the United States, Rebuilding Together can offer local support for your sustainable home modification project.
National Resource Center On Supportive Housing And Home Modification
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is a valuable resource for information, training, and technical assistance related to home modifications for older adults and people with disabilities. While their primary focus is on accessibility, they also promote sustainability and energy efficiency as key components of a supportive home environment.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a well-known nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve affordable, sustainable homes. Through its Home Preservation program, Habitat for Humanity can assist with exterior home modifications including ramps, handrails, and energy-efficient upgrades. They also offer resources and expertise in sustainable building practices.
The National Council On Independent Living
The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is a membership organization that advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. It offers resources and support on various topics, including home modifications and sustainable living.
By connecting with these organizations, you can access valuable resources, expertise, and support for a sustainable home modification project. Whether you need financial assistance, professional guidance, or hands-on help, these organizations can help you create a more accessible, comfortable, and eco-friendly living environment for yourself or a loved one with disabilities.
Financial Assistance For Home Modifications For The Disabled
When it comes to making home modifications for individuals with disabilities, finding financial assistance can be a significant concern. However, various organizations and programs offer grants or loans to help cover the costs of necessary changes. In this section, we’ll discuss three resources that could provide the financial support you need to create a more accessible and comfortable living environment.
Digital Federal Credit Union Access Loans
The Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offers Access Loans specifically designed to assist those with disabilities. These loans cover products, devices, or building modifications, such as bathroom accessibility, kitchen adaptations, doorway widening, countertop lowering, cabinet adjustments, ramp installations, and more. Access Loans range from $1,500 to $25,000, with repayment terms of up to 72 months. Visit the DCU website for more information.
National Disability Institute Assistive Technology Loans
The National Disability Institute (NDI) is an organization that performs research and advocates for people with disabilities. It offers affordable assistive technology loans ranging from $500 to $30,000 for residents of New Jersey and New York. Additionally, the NDI maintains a list of organizations across the country that help finance assistive technology.
Modest Needs Self-Sufficiency Grants
Modest Needs is a non-profit organization that provides Self-Sufficiency Grants to individuals and families living just above the poverty level in the U.S. and Canada. These grants can cover a variety of expenses, including accessible home modifications. The average grant amount ranges from $750 to $1,250, depending on the applicant’s financial situation. To qualify, one household member must be employed, and the primary source of income must come from employment, child support, veterans benefits, or retirement. Applicants must not be eligible for other grants or government aid.
By exploring these options, you can find the financial support you need to make your home more accessible and comfortable for yourself or a loved one with disabilities.
Eco-Harmful Household Items
One of the simplest ways to make your home more sustainable and eco-friendly is by identifying and replacing common household items that have a negative impact on the environment. By swapping these items out for more environmentally friendly alternatives, you can significantly reduce your ecological footprint. Below we’ll discuss six common household items that can be harmful to the environment and suggestions for eco-friendly replacements.
Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in some personal care products like exfoliating scrubs and toothpaste. They can cause water pollution and harm aquatic life when they enter waterways. Instead, opt for products containing natural exfoliants like oatmeal or sea salt.
Single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, and disposable cutlery contribute to the plastic pollution crisis. Replace them with reusable items like cloth bags, metal straws, and bamboo or metal cutlery.
Antibacterial Gels And Soaps
Antibacterial gels and soaps often contain triclosan, which can harm aquatic life and contribute to antibiotic resistance. Choose eco-friendly hand soaps and sanitizers that use natural ingredients like tea tree oil or alcohol instead.
Aerosol cans like those used for air fresheners and deodorants release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to air pollution. Switch to non-aerosol alternatives like solid or roll-on deodorants and essential oil diffusers for air freshening.
Detergents Containing Phosphates
Phosphate-containing detergents can cause water pollution and contribute to the growth of harmful algal blooms. Look for eco-friendly detergents that are phosphate-free and use plant-based ingredients.
Chlorine bleach can be harmful to the environment and aquatic life when it enters waterways. Choose non-chlorine bleach alternatives, like hydrogen peroxide or oxygen-based bleaches, to whiten and brighten your laundry.
By replacing these eco-harmful items with more sustainable alternatives, you’ll be taking an important step toward creating a greener, more environmentally friendly home. Remember that every small change can have a significant impact on the health of our planet.
Creating an eco-friendly and accessible home for people with disabilities is not only beneficial for the individual but also for the environment. By making sustainable home modifications, you can improve accessibility, save money, and contribute to the well-being of your local ecosystem. Numerous organizations and financial assistance programs are available to help you make these changes, and we at TodaysHomeowner.com are committed to guiding you in the right direction. Embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle while catering to the specific needs of people with disabilities is a step towards a more inclusive and sustainable future for everyone.