How to Design an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
Go green and follow these easy design tips to create an affordable, stylish and eco-friendly kitchen.
Though going green in the kitchen will save you money on energy costs, eco-friendly products have a reputation for being expensive, frumpy and difficult to find.
The good news: Earth-friendly products are available in a wider range of styles and costs than ever before, so you can go any shade of green you desire.
According to CNN.com, although a total green rebuild would cost 20 percent to 30 percent more, you can still get results by spending less, often as little as 2 percent to 4 percent over standard construction.
"You can make a kitchen somewhat green with no extra expense or difficulty," agrees Scott Martin, the founder of Blue Plum Design, a kitchen design firm in San Francisco that specializes in green kitchen renovations.
Appliances approved by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star program use 10 percent to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models, reducing energy costs. Martin says that energy-efficient appliances, improved insulation and thermally efficient doors and windows are standard inclusions in his remodeling jobs. "These products will help almost any kitchen be more efficient and comfortable," he says.
In addition to the energy cost savings and lower environmental impact, there are health benefits. The U.S. EPA estimates that Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, and the concentration of pollutants indoors is often 10 to 100 times greater than outdoors. The kitchen contributes its share of indoor air pollution through cooking fumes and gases from flooring, paints, cabinets and countertops.
Green products reduce exposure to air pollutants. For example, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) typically are emitted by paints, wood preservatives and other sources. These gases have short- and long-term health effects, including symptoms that range from eye, nose and throat irritation to cancer. Eco-safe paints are VOC-free, as are cabinets, countertops and flooring.
Elements of a Green Kitchen
Kitchens get an eco-friendly boost from energy-efficient appliances, water-saving fixtures and improvements in indoor air quality.
Simple Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen
You don't have to remodel your kitchen to make it eco-friendly. Here are five easy ways to get a green kitchen now.
Strategies for Going Green
From improving indoor air quality to decreasing energy costs, we've got the ideas you need to get your green kitchen now.
How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
A few simple changes can save you big money. Check out our tips for energy proofing your home.
Tips on Increasing Attic-Insulation Efficiency
Houses can lose a lot of heat through the attic space. Find out how much insulation should be in an attic and get some tips about this easy upgrade.
Stylish Energy-Efficient Bath Lighting
Energy codes and utility bills are making energy efficient lighting a must, even in today's spa-like baths. Products now hitting the market are both functional and fashionable.
The Most Efficient Energy Star Appliances
You can save a lot of money on your energy bill by replacing your old appliances with Energy Star qualified appliances. However, it's important to select the most energy efficient appliances to get the best savings.
Elements of a Green Bathroom
See how an eco-friendly design and green bathroom products can save you energy and money.
The Benefits of Going Green in the Bathroom
Learn how to use eco-friendly bathroom design to save energy and water, lower your utility bills and create a beautiful bathroom in the process.
Keeping it Cool: How Big Should an AC Unit Be?
Many homes have air-conditioning units that are too big or too small for them, which can lead to a loss of cooling and high energy bills. Use these tips to determine the proper sizing for an AC unit.
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