Consumers are beginning to consider the eco friendly aspects of creating a healthy home, and the kitchen is often one of the first rooms people want to upgrade in an existing home, and begin planning in a new home. Whether you are remodeling, or building your dream home, a green kitchen will help the environment, your indoor air quality, and the resale value of your home.
Reuse and Recycle – If you are remodeling your kitchen, or even building a new home, buying cabinets and counter tops that have been taken out of someone’s home is a great way to stop one kitchen from going to the landfill, and save money at the same time. You can find used cabinets and appliances for sale on Craigslist.org, or a company such as GreenDemolitions.com where you can donate your old kitchen and find a newer model at the same time. While you may not be able to find green materials, recycling and reusing non-green materials can save even more carbon emissions than buying new green products, not to mention your budget savings.
Flooring – Your kitchen floor needs to take a beating and still look beautiful. Luckily there are plenty of options that are eco friendly and durable. Cork is sustainable and durable while also being affordable. If you want to stick with traditional wood flooring, reclaimed wood from old homes is stylish, or you can find FSC certified wood locally from companies such as Ecotimber.com. Recycled glass is another option, or you can go extremely eco friendly and plan a rammed earth floor where earth is compacted and sealed with oils for a gorgeous finish. There are even eco friendly linoleums available such as Marmoleum for those looking for easy care flooring.
Cabinets – Much like flooring, there are plenty of options in bamboo and FSC certified wood cabinetry. Stainless steel and glass combinations are also coming into style right now. Making sure your FSC certified cabinets are manufactured from local wood will improve the chance that carbon emissions are as low as possible, and looking for low VOC finishes will enhance your indoor air quality.
Countertops – The amount of new countertop styles that are available in eco friendly materials is astounding. There are of course traditional stone, recycled tiles, and concrete. But now there are paper countertops from PaperStoneProducts.com and ShetkaStone.com, recycled glass reminiscent of beach glass from Vetrazzo.com, and even countertops made from fine flake aluminum milling scrap by Alkemi.com.
Paints and Finishes – Any liquid products used to combine or finish surfaces like glue, grout, and paint can contain chemicals that release toxic gases into the air. Low or no VOC products should be considered to lower or eliminate these gases altogether. Popular eco friendly paints include Bio Shield, American Pride and AFM Safecoat.
Appliances – Buying Energy Star rates appliances can significantly impact your utility bills. Considering non-traditional appliances can help further, such as tankless water heaters for on demand hot water, or grey water systems that allow reuse of water for washing dishes or clothing as well as other activities like watering the garden.