Kitchen Remodeling: 6 Steps to a Green Kitchen
While the "green" movement may have slowed down slightly, similar to the economy, it is still alive and well.
More homeowners are opting to stay in their current homes, and many of them are turning to eco-friendly products and contractors for a variety of reasons: some are environmentally conscious while others have allergies or are chemically sensitive.
Whatever the reason for remodeling, almost everyone agrees that lowering their energy consumption and their electricity and water bills is important.
Here are six ways people can make their homes greener when kitchen remodeling.
1. Choose energy-efficient appliances. When purchasing a new refrigerator, dishwasher or other appliances, choose ones that are certified energy efficient. Use the water and energy-saving settings as often as possible. Plus, some states offer rebates for homeowners who use energy-efficient models.
2. Install energy-efficient lighting. When working on the kitchen remodel design in their new space, homeowners can increase their natural light to cut down on the need for electricity. But some bulbs will be needed. Choose fixtures that are compatible with compact fluorescents (CFLs), which save 75% of the electricity that incandescent bulbs use. These are slightly higher in initial price but last eight times as long and will significantly cut down on energy bills.
3. Purchase green kitchen cupboards and cabinets. There are more eco-friendly kitchen cupboards and cabinets available today than ever before. These are constructed of rapidly renewable resources or recycled materials. People remodeling their kitchen should ask their contractor about wheatboard, bamboo and other green cabinet products. Additionally, they should inquire about water-based adhesives and finishes.
4. Choose green products when kitchen remodeling. For flooring, cork is highly durable, comfortable and an excellent insulator of sound and heat. Cork is also hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly. Concrete is excellent for flooring, countertops and other areas because it does not have harmful fumes, glues or laminates. For countertops and backsplashes, homeowners can choose from a variety of durable and attractive eco-friendly options, such as vertrazzo and recycled glass tiles.
5. Remodel with hypoallergenic materials. These materials are not toxic, like some building materials, and will not lead to harmful indoor air quality. Homeowners should look for low-toxicity finishes and surfaces, and water-based adhesives and finishes without synthetic formaldehyde resins. Paints should have low-VOC or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds).
6. Choose green kitchen remodeling contractors. When a homeowner is getting quotes from contractors, they should inquire about their products and building methods to ensure they are eco-friendly. Increasingly, contractors are becoming more conscious of their materials and methods and will be able to meet a homeowner's needs.
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