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.

CI-McGilvrayWoodworks_hgrm-room-stories-French-Country-kitchen-JDK0269_h

CI-McGilvrayWoodworks_hgrm-room-stories-French-Country-kitchen-JDK0269_h

HGTV Remodels Room Stories Transitional Kitchen with butcherblock island and glass-front cabinets.

Photo by: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Jason Kisner, 2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

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.

Elements of a Green Kitchen

Kitchens get an eco-friendly boost from energy-efficient appliances, water-saving fixtures and improvements in indoor air quality.

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.

The ABCs of Kitchen Appliances

Confused by all the options available when it comes to picking the right appliances for your kitchen remodel? Here are some basic features to look for.

How to Make a Wreath From Fence Pieces and Garland

This inexpensive, easy-to-make wreath was made from salvaged picket fence pieces, a strand of garland and some pinecones.

How to Make a Wreath From Electrical Wire, Berries and Pinecones

To create this rustic-chic wreath, we looped salvaged electrical wire around a wooden ring, then embellished it with floral berries and pinecones.

How to Make a Wreath From Chicken Wire and Feathers

To make this unusual and rustic wreath, wrap salvaged chicken wire around a wooden ring, then embellish it with colorful feathers and craft birds.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.