Going green with a kitchen remodel is a growing consideration for many homeowners. Why should you consider going green on your kitchen remodel? Well, besides being good for the environment, it can create a healthier environment for you and others, while helping you save money on your utility bills. You may also qualify for some rebates, tax deductions and credits that are available both locally and at the federal level.
Here are some common sense tips for green kitchen remodeling:
Consider using low to VOC free (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants. These materials help make for a healthier house especially for those with respiratory problems. Using regular paint with high VOC’s can take quite a while to cure and months to fully air out your place
Make sure all exterior walls are adequately insulated to help prevent condensation from forming inside the walls that leads to mold & mildew growth. This will also help keep the cold air out during the winter (i.e. frozen pipes & a chilly kitchen). We at SLS Construction prefer using a Closed Cell Foam product for many reasons; however, there are numerous other options available. Two popular “non-toxic insulation” options would be using insulation derived from materials like soybean or cotton.
Look for the EPA’s WaterSense label: The EPA has started a program called WaterSense, which is very similar to the EnergyStar program. While the program currently focuses mostly on bathrooms and exterior watering, in the near future I can envision kitchen faucets & possibly dishwashers being designed and added to the list. One water saving feature would be to install an aerator on the kitchen faucet.
Look for the EnergyStar label: This is one of the biggest area’s that you can save money on your utilities in the kitchen. One main item would be to install energy efficient light fixtures along with CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs)in all your light fixtures. The second major area of savings would be with your appliances. While an EnergyStar appliance may cost more up front, check the Energy Data sheets on each unit – you will generally be saving 20% or more on your utility usage for each appliance. If you have an older refrigerator, you might easily save a $100 or more a year just by replacing it.
Replace your dishwasher with a new more efficient one with an in-line heater installed. The in-line heater allows you to keep your water heater set @ 120 degrees (which helps save energy and prevent scalding), while it heats the incoming water up to 140 degrees to kill all the germs.
Install and use a properly sized range hood that vents outside. A kitchen needs to be vented not only to eliminate the smoke from the occasionally overcooked meal, but also the grease, excess heat and humidity that are generated from cooking.
Replace older windows in your kitchen with a properly installed energy efficient window, or consider adding a Solatube® or similar type of skylight for natural lighting.
Consider the use of an on demand hot water recirculation pump, if the kitchen is located far from the houses hot water heater. This will prevent the waste generated from leaving the water on while you wait for it to heat up.
Are your old cabinets, sink, faucets and appliances in good shape? Consider donating them to an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or selling them to others.
There are many other popular “green” options out there including using recycled products, hardwoods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, using wood from rapidly renewable sources like cork and bamboo, etc… If you are interested in these area’s make sure you do plenty of research and find a reliable contractor that can turn your dreams and vision into a reality.