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Go Green Kitchen Remodeling Tips & Ideas

Kitchens are an excellent candidate if you’re looking to “green” a project. For starters, kitchen remodels tend to be large undertakings, and since the greenest remodeling project is one that starts from the ground up, they provide homeowners with the opportunity to incorporate a wide range of green alternatives into the overall design. On a more micro-level, even if you’re just upgrading your countertops, cabinets, appliances, or plumbing, the kitchen is a great place to take smaller steps to increase energy efficiency, create a safer, healthier home environment, and to create a more comfortable space— all of which are cornerstones of green remodeling and design.

Calculating the True Value of Going Green

While cost is first in the mind of most homeowners, it’s difficult to place a specific cost on green remodeling in the kitchen. The level of green each homeowner is willing to commit to varies, as does the scope of each individual kitchen remodel. What we can tell you is this:

Green remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive materials. Most green building materials are cost-competitive with traditional ones, and many actually cost less than non-green alternatives.

Green building focuses on creating low-maintenance, long lasting kitchens, so you’ll pay less for repairs and replacements over the life of your new kitchen.

Green remodeling is guaranteed to reduce energy costs in the kitchen, now and in the long term. Those energy savings will help to offset any higher initial costs over time.

The true value of a green kitchen isn’t always best measured in dollars and cents.

Green Tips for Increasing Energy Efficiency in the Kitchen

Install high-efficiency ovens and stoves. Purchasing a gas stove with high combustion efficiency will help reduce the level of harmful exhaust and unburned gasses that are leaked into your home when cooking.

Avoid particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). These products, commonly used in countertops and cabinets, off-gas urea formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. If you do use MDF or particle board in your kitchen, be sure to seal exposed areas with several coats of a low- or no-VOC paint or sealer.

Purchase custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry isn’t cheap, but solid wood cabinets eliminate the health risks associated with cheaper cabinets made of MDF or particleboard.

Purchase solid slab countertops. Solid stone, concrete, and engineered stone countertops release almost no airborne toxins into your kitchen. They’re also virtually maintenance-free, and easier to keep clean than most other materials, which is a big plus when you consider that hard-to-clean countertops are a prime breeding ground for harmful, food-related bacteria.

Good ventilation is one of the most important aspects of a green kitchen. Not only does adequate ventilation remove cooking odors and harmful combustion gases, but it also whisks away moisture created by cooking, which is a primary source of mold problems in kitchen areas.

Install windows in your kitchen. The most energy-efficient ventilation system is an open window in good weather.

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