Environmentally Friendly Custom Home Building and Design


There are ways to be socially responsible in any business. All it takes is commitment and an understanding (and acceptance) of how your work impacts the environment.

Custom home building and design can have many environmental impacts given the involved nature of the work. It’s significantly easier to not think about these impacts and they’re often at the back of your mind whether you’re designing a house or finding the right contractor (read this before you pick your next contractor). At Sleeping Dog Properties, Inc., we understand there are ways to be more socially responsible in our work, and we take this effort very seriously so you can rest assured your renovation, remodel, or custom home will be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Reducing Unnecessary Waste From a Custom Home Building Project

A remodel or renovation results in quite a bit of waste, whether from building materials or old appliances, cabinetry, or fixtures. In many cases, these items remain in good condition and could be used for another home design project. If we were to simply haul these items into the landfill, we would lose the opportunity to give them a second life.

So, how do we reuse in-tact housing materials and items to reduce overall waste?

Single-Stream Recycling

This system allows the depositor to place all recyclable materials into the same container for collection. The materials are then sorted on the processing side at a materials recovery facility. This has several benefits for construction companies, waste management organizations, and for the planet:

  • Helps prevent refuse-worker injuries
  • Encourages more recycling in general by supporting an easy-to-use system
  • Increases the amount of different paper grades that can be collected
  • Reduces collection costs as single-compartment trucks are cheaper and more efficient


Environmentally-Friendly Materials

Even though it can be more expensive or difficult at times, we always opt to use materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are found in many materials, and in some cases can be harmful to both human health and the environment.

VOCs are regulated in the air, water, and on land by the Environmental Protection Agency, but we believe it is important to take extra steps to be as socially responsible as possible with these compounds. Materials with low VOCs are more environmentally friendly, which many of our clients are thrilled about.

Donating: In addition to appreciating the latest in high-end appliances, furniture, and features, our custom home clients also support our commitment to helping others. When we’re remodeling a home in Newton or Wellesley, for example, we often end up with a top-of-the-line ovens or refrigerators that are more than suitable for a second life, but have been replaced with an alternative better suited for the new home. Rather than see these end up in a landfill, we donate as much as possible and encourage you to do the same in your businesses!

During demolition, we will remove anything that can be saved, donated or re-used. These types of items may include:

  • Entire kitchens (countertops, cabinetry)
  • Fireplaces
  • Mirrors
  • Granite stone slabs
  • Electronics (TVs, computer parts, refrigerators, kitchen appliances)


We’re proud to be able to donate quality items from the higher-end custom homes on which we work. These types of donated items maintain a high value and can be effectively reused for many years to come.

Organizations like Build Health International, Boston Building Resources or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore provide a great opportunity to donate used housing materials that can then be utilized for new building or design projects.

We’ll admit, it does take a lot of extra work to save these items for donation. But we think the work is worth it. Not only are our clients happy knowing the items they have used for years will continue to live on, but there is a great need for many of these items around Boston. We’re more than happy to use our unique position as one of the city’s high-end contractors with access to the finest materials to spread the love.

How To Make Sure Your Contractors Donate As Much As Possible

Bringing a focus to recycling, using more environmentally-friendly materials and donating quality housing items is completely doable for your contracting business. Here’s a few quick tips:

  1. Work out a deal with a donation center ahead of time. If you know of a donation center in your area, contact them and let them know what materials or items you have. Send photos and provide descriptions. Some donation centers may be at capacity, so you may want to contact more than one to ensure your items will have a future home.
  2. Prevent any damage to items. When removing, loading or delivering housing items and materials, be careful to keep them intact and free of damage. Minor scuffs or dings are fine, as long as the item remains fully functional. Let everyone on your crew know these items will be donated so they treat them with care.
  3. Be open-minded about where to bring your used materials and items. There are many reputable donation centers and charities around Boston beyond what we listed above that distribute donations to local organizations or even other countries. If one doesn’t work out for whatever reason, there are plenty of other options to ensure your items find a good home.


All businesses can benefit from employing socially-responsible practices, especially custom home building and design companies. We believe in doing all we can to reduce waste and prolong the life of quality items and materials that have lasting value–and the more emphasis we place on sustainable practices, the more widespread the effort becomes!


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