Making a home more eco-friendly doesn't necessarily have to be expensive or complicated — there are a number of small measures those constructing or renovating a home can take, says a Vancouver interior designer.

"Most consumers assume that being eco[-friendly] is very expensive — they have to build a LEED certified home or building," said Jamie Banfield, founder and principal designer at Banfield Designs.

"That's amazing if we could do every project like that … but there's so many simple ways. It's looking at things like: do the cabinets have to get torn out or not, if we're renovating a kitchen?"

Reclaimed wood, local sources

Banfield will be speaking about eco-friendly home improvements at the B.C. Home and Garden Show at BC Place, running until Feb. 21.

Jamie Banfield

Interior designer Jamie Banfield was recently recognized by the National Kitchen and Bath Association as one of the industry’s top 30 Under 30 in North America. (

He told host Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition that people can be sustainable in a number of ways — using reclaimed wood for a home project, for instance, or used goods when renovating or building and getting energy efficient appliances.

Looking for locally produced materials is another good way to be sustainable, said Banfield.

For example, he says, a lot of consumers don't know hardwood flooring can be sourced locally as opposed to another country that doesn't have the same regulations around forest regeneration.

"We could get it manufactured and milled in Chilliwack … as opposed to getting something that's farmed in Russia. There's no regrowth built into that when it's farmed there, and then it's shipped to China for coating, and then Ontario for packaging, and then shipped here."

Sustainable building in B.C.

Banfield said that some locally produced and sourced materials may sometimes be more expensive, but added that it may have other advantages that make up the cost.

"It might be a floor that stands up 100 years as opposed to 10 years, because of the coating."

Banfield said that things like solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems aren't the norm in B.C. yet, and said that general construction in the province produces a massive amount of waste.

"The construction market right now is so hot that everything's selling. So why step it up a notch when it's automatically going to sell? That's some of the mindset out there."

He says some in the industry "are ahead of the game" with eco-friendly homes, but it will take more time before it becomes the norm.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver interior designer talks eco-friendly home improvements at the B.C. Home and Garden Show