Details: Green Kitchen Remodel Tech Set
Kitchen Recycling Center
Available pre-assembled or in cabinet retrofit kits, kitchen recycling centers take the mess out of managing your recyclables. These modified cabinets can accommodate any kitchen style and cabinet size, and are available in a full range of cabinet materials.
Products manufactured from rapidly-renewing forests can provide the homeowner with a beautiful, affordable and durable floor -- and an environmentally responsible choice. Bamboo, cork, and eucalyptus flooring products are sustainable alternatives to slower growing hardwoods. These grasses and trees mature in roughly half of the time (or less!) that it takes hardwoods, grown in colder climates, to reach market size. Costs, finishes, and maintenance requirements vary among flooring types, so review manufacturers' installation instructions and warranties, as well as maintenance guidelines.
Compare flooring options available.
Low Maintenance, Long-Lasting Countertops
Sturdy, simple to clean, and sanitary is the mantra for counters. It's important to use materials that are durable and water-resistant. It should come as no surprise that concrete and stone countertops are gaining popularity. Stained concrete uses non-toxic, natural pigments rather than surface-applied stains, while there is also the option of adding other recycled materials into the mixture. Many types of indigenous stone are available and can come from salvage and remnants, but make sure they are well sealed to prevent staining.
Compare countertops options on the market.
Air Admittance Valves
Put fewer holes in the roof and have fewer callbacks for leaks with air admittance valves (AAVs). The pressure-activated, one-way mechanical valves are installed in plumbing drainlines in place of through-the-roof pipe venting. They operate with the discharge of wastewater, just like conventional plumbing vents. By eliminating piping and flashing, there is a net savings after the initial investment of $25 to $40. And they're durable.
Nothing can improve the comfort and energy efficiency of a kitchen more than plenty of insulation in the exterior walls. To add insulation to existing homes, it is common practice to blow fibrous insulation material -- fiberglass or natural materials like cellulose and mineral wool -- into enclosed wall, floor, and roof cavities. "Dense packing" the insulation inhibits air circulation within the cavities, thereby eliminating an important cause of condensation and moisture problems. It also helps create a tighter house by inhibiting air movement through the envelope.
ENERGY STAR Windows, Doors and Skylights
Well-designed windows and skylights can lighten the feel of a kitchen. ENERGY STAR qualified products lighten the burden of energy bills, as well. In all regions of the country, homeowners can find greater comfort and significant savings -- ranging from $110 to $400 a year -- by replacing single-panes with ENERGY STAR qualified windows.
Compared to conventional products,
ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and skylights
use low-e glass with solar shading, which increases the room's comfort, protects items from sun damage, and reduces condensation on windows. You can choose impact-resistance windows for greater safety in areas prone to high winds and flying debris.
Task Lighting and
Automatic lighting controls, common in commercial buildings, are now available in a variety of options for residences. These range from a simple outdoor light fixture with a built-in photosensor to whole-house programmable controls that activate lights based on your life, whether you are on vacation or hosting a party. Besides convenience to homeowners, these controls can save energy and improve safety. Many controls, like dimmer switches and motion detectors, can be retrofitted into standard electrical switch boxes. The cost of a control can often be offset by the first year's energy savings.
ENERGY STAR Appliances
When buying a refrigerator, dishwasher or vent fan for your kitchen renovation, remember that it will have two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on your utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a slightly more expensive but more efficient ENERGY STAR model.
Universal Design Kitchen Cabinets
By incorporating universal design into kitchens, you can give your homes a competitive edge by meeting the increasing demand for accessibility, and there are a wide variety of cabinets and accessories available. It should appeal to many homebuyers, and add value to a home. If you are resurfacing existing cabinets, sealing these with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint or stain or laminating with a new surface will seal the substrates. Cabinets that are made with particleboard or fiberboard are likely to contain urea formaldehyde and are not resistant to moisture.
Low-VOC Paints and Finishes
Many conventional paints and finishes contain high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that produce potentially harmful gasses when applied. The VOCs diminish air quality, and may be detrimental to your health. Today, low- and no-VOC paints are available almost anywhere. They release no or minimal VOC pollutants, and are virtually odor free. This improves the indoor air quality of the home, making it particularly safer for people with chemical sensitivity. Also, latex paints use water as their solvent and carrier, allowing both easier cleanup and generally lower toxicity.
Mold-Resistant Gypsum or Cement Board
Mold growth requires moisture and a food source. Therefore, some gypsum board manufacturers have developed products with paperless coatings and gypsum cores that will not absorb moisture as easily as typical gypsum board. To reduce the risk of mold growth that paper facings can provide, a number of manufacturers chemically treat the paper on both sides of the gypsum board, while others eliminate the paper entirely and replace it with either fiberglass mat facings or a gypsum-cellulose combination. The result is a mold-resistant wall panel that helps maintain good indoor air quality, while reducing the probability of costly replacement or remediation -- and even litigation.
It may seem like magic, but its really just magnetic. Magnetic induction cooking uses electricity to produce a magnetic field that causes molecular movement in cookware. The movement produces heat that warms the pot, and then, the pot's contents. That's right, cooking without a burner. The cookware gets hot but not the stovetop, so it's safer, too. Cookware made from steel, iron, nickel or various alloys magnetizes easily, making a radically new cooking method appear to be quite ordinary from a cook's point of view; just faster, using less energy, and with more precision. Induction units are available in traditional sizes, so they can be fit into custom kitchens with the same ease as traditional electric cooktops.
Content updated on 2/27/2007