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Green Kitchens: Ecology Tips

The push is on to encourage homeowners to focus on environmentally friendly kitchens, especially when remodeling or building from scratch. You can reduce energy consumption and costs which nourishing your body and soul at the same time. Everyone wins.

Happily this doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style, luxury or convenience.

Here are a few tips to think about:

  • Choose your appliances carefully. Generally speaking, a refrigerator or dishwasher that is more than 10 years old is costing you money needlessly. If your stove is over 20 years old, it is not as efficient as it could be and it will pollute more.
  • You can get a big return on investing in modern appliances because they will typically reduce your energy usage by up to 50%. Look for the "Energy Star" label on any appliance you consider getting.
  • Try to run your dishwasher only when it is full. Select the energy and water saving setting.
  • Increase your sources of natural daylight as the sun is your most energy-efficient source.
  • Add insulated double paned windows, solar tubes or skylights.
  • Make sure your task lights are individually controlled.
  • Whenever possible, use fluorocarbon light bulbs.
  • When choosing cabinets, look for the KCMA Certified Cabinet Seal as this means the cabinets are eco-friendly.
  • Choose cabinets made from stainless steel, sustainable woods such as alder or compressed agricultural plant materials (wheatboard, strawboard).
  • Avoid particleboard or compressed-wood products as the formaldehyde resins can produce toxic gasses.
  • Don't replace, just reface, if your inside shelves and drawers are in good shape.
  • Concrete, sustainable woods and recycled stone-chipped composites are all eco-friendly and healthy choices.
  • Recycled glass and cast concrete counters are as durable as granite but less porous than marble.
  • Make sure the finishes and surfaces are low toxicity.
  • Hardwood floors are easier to stand on than stone or tile, have no grout to clean and mop up easily with soap and water.
  • Other good choices are tiles from reclaimed or recycled materials, bamboo, linoleum or cork.
  • Poured concrete is a modern, easy-care choice. It can be stained or even made to look like tile.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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