The Remodeling Corner

Janet Cook

April 22 is designated Earth Day to encourage the care and preservation of our natural resources through good stewardship. Kitchen remodeling is full of opportunity to go green, whether one is doing a major kitchen remodeling project or a minor one. Going green is more than just becoming more energy efficient and conserving water. It is about creating a safer, healthier home environment with forward-thinking design and quality materials and craftsmanship for long-lasting enjoyment. Here are some strategies to incorporate:

* Purchase energy-efficient appliances. Replace old appliances with Energy Star-rated models. It can save 30% on the costs of running them. Consider an induction cooktop, which reduces cooking time and ambient heat. A convection oven also cooks more efficiently.

* Use adequate ventilation. The exhaust fan should ventilate to the outdoors and be properly sized with adequate power.

* Install low-flow water faucets and a point of use water heater. Look for WaterSense-certified faucets. They can save 700 gallons of water a year. Rather than turning on the faucet and waiting for hot water to reach it, install a point of use water heater that will supply hot water on demand. Have the hot water pipes be insulated.

* Avoid particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Lower quality cabinets will use cheaper materials, which off-gas urea formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Specify solid wood or high-density fiberboard (HDF) for your cabinetry that is forest stewardship certified and low VOC.

* Choose eco-friendly countertops. Quartz counters are sustainable, durable, and do not require sealing.

* Include lighting design. Have ample natural light (with low-e insulated windows) and task lighting for food prep, cooking, and doing dishes, so you only need to light the space you are using. Have dimmable lighting so you can have the level of ambient lighting you want.

* Use zero VOC paint. Look for GREENGUARD-Certified paint to reduce pollutants that regular paint releases into the air.

* Choose eco-friendly flooring. If you prefer tile, Daltile is lead-free, though people find, over time, that tile is hard on the joints and is cold. Gaining in popularity is Marmoleum, a natural linoleum treated to prevent staining and scuffing, that is not cold. It is water resistant, can have the look of wood or stone or a range of colors, and the click and lock system negates the need for glue. If you want engineered wood, make sure the core is plywood or solid slat.

A green kitchen remodeling project provides more of a return on investment than just by reducing utility bills and lower maintenance. There are the health benefits of enjoying a beautiful space, having more home cooked meals, and having better air quality in the home.

Happy Green Kitchen Remodeling!

Janet Cook, Certified Health Coach and Aging in Place specialist, president of Cook Remodeling (celebrating their 43rd year), invites you to check out their website for photos and more ideas.