One of the best places to think about eco-friendly remodeling is in the kitchen. However, a recipe for an environmentally friendly kitchen requires early planning, if it is to be successful. Don’t wait until construction has begun to consider your green options. Delays, costly changes and friction between yourself and your contractor can be avoided by thinking ahead – together. Here are a few green ingredients to make sure your kitchen really cooks and is sustainable at the same time.
- * Green your lighting system: Perhaps one of the simplest swaps, using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLS) saves up to 75 percent more energy than incandescent bulbs and lasts about 10 times longer. You must discuss different installation needs prior to starting any wiring. Of course you should go with lots of natural light with energy-efficient windows and skylights.
- * Green your walls: Some paints contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that emit harmful vapors that affect your home’s air quality and can present a wide array of health issues. Prevent this with paints that indicate reduced VOC levels. These paints may need to be ordered several weeks ahead.
- * Green your floors: Carpets made with recycled fibers are not only resourceful, but also have been found to be more resilient, and even stain-resistant, than other carpets. Another great green alternative is cork. Renewable cork is quiet and soft underfoot, and mildew and mold-resistant. This is perfect if family members have allergies. .
- * Green your heating: Check out what options are available in your area. You should also consider whether this option is right for you. For example, in a short summer location --- with just a few days of extreme heat – it might not warrant the cost of installing a green cooling system for the entire house. It may be better to cool a single room or floor.
- * Green your backsplashes and cutting boards: this is another area where renewable, fast-growing bamboo is a green alternative.
- * Green your counter-tops: Here you can choose reclaimed wood for attractive butcher block counter-tops. Other durable and colorful alternatives are quartz chips, recycled paper in a resin finish, or chipped recycled glass in concrete or cement or resin.
- * Green your cabinets: Formaldehyde-free woods (cherry, maple or oak) and sustainable woods (like bamboo) are among today’s greenest choices for cabinets.
- * Green your appliances: There are appliances available that help the environment by using less energy. Look for maximum cooking results in minimum times.
- * Green your water: Lower the hot water temperature to cut back on energy used by the dishwasher. Or, better yet, consider a solar hot water heater.