We found this great blog from a green builder in the Chicago area, GreenwerksPro. Here are there top 8 tips on a green kitchen. Of course there is one thing missing the walls! Don’t suffer with VOC’s from the walls use San Marco Mineral paints or plasters. We can also help with fantastic lime wash floors too!
by Brandon Zeman
Remodeling a kitchen makes perfect sense – particularly if you haven’t yet taken the next step to make this part of your home green and environment-friendly. A conventional kitchen can account for most of a homeowner’s energy use, and – according to the U.S. Department of Energy – kitchen lights, refrigerators, and cooking appliances alone are responsible for 41.5 percent of energy consumption at home. That’s not including dishwashers, fans, water systems, and other related equipment.
Going green in the kitchen therefore represents a huge opportunity not only to increase the value of your Chicago home, but also to improve the environmental sustainability of the place where you live. It’s certainly a smart investment. Not only does a green kitchen remodel help you save up on energy and utility bills; it also minimizes your risks of exposure to toxic materials, making your Chicago home and kitchen a safer, brighter, and greener place, one in which you can live, work, wine, and dine without causing serious harm to the environment.
Not quite sure how to start the process of greening your kitchen? Here are eight great tips:
We don’t mean having to crop the floor area of your kitchen. Rather, we talk of getting rid of super-sized, energy-guzzling kitchen appliances like the bulky refrigerator, the huge microwave oven that you only use to heat up the take-out Chinese, the supposedly state-of-the-art dishwasher that’s taking up so much kitchen space since it’s been installed. Ask yourself: which of these huge appliances do you really need? Perhaps it will be more worth your while to replace these oversized energy guzzlers with compact, energy-efficient kitchen appliances that can save you extra money, extra working space, and extra energy.
2. Install energy efficient windows
Going green isn’t just about electrical appliances and kitchen equipment. It’s also about eco-friendly design. Your green kitchen remodeling project will therefore benefit greatly from the installation of energy-efficient windows that promote natural daylight (instead of artificial) and free ventilation (instead of mechanical). By “energy-efficient windows” we mean nothing too revolutionary: operable windows and skylights – which can help clear away vapors and air toxins indoors – are simple and perfect for the green kitchen. With these, you may not even have to use the exhaust fan as much as you used to.
3. Use eco-friendly fans
Ceiling fans or high-efficiency exhaust fans with adjustable speed are great for improving the natural ventilation in your kitchen. These also operate quietly and help you reduce your energy consumption while evacuating cooking fumes, strong kitchen odors, and indoor air toxins.
4. Switch to CFLs
Make the switch when you decide to remodel your kitchen in your Chicago home. Well, you know what? You don’t even have to wait for that kitchen remodel project to happen. Go ahead and replace those incandescent light bulbs now with compact fluorescent lights, which have been designed to use so much less electricity and save so much more energy. The average lifespan of a CFL is also between 8 to 15 times longer than that of incandescents, saving you the time, money, energy, and gasoline from frequent trips to the hardware store.
5. Replace the ten-year-old fridge
If you’re serious about remodeling your kitchen into a greener one, make sure you get yourself a newer, more energy-efficient refrigerator. The conventional fridge is second among home appliances in energy consumption – next only to air-conditioners – so if your model is at least a decade old, it’s about time for a replacement. Opt for refrigerator models with Energy Star logos, as these can maximize your energy and dollar savings without compromising refrigeration features or the freshness of those fruits and vegetables.
6. Separate, recycle, and compost
The rewards of active waste management are most evident in the kitchen, where one might produce lots of food scraps and garbage. As you undertake your green kitchen remodeling, be on the lookout for models of kitchen cabinets that are conveniently designed to help you segregate and take your garbage easily out of sight.
7. Get a purifier
The recommended water purifier is the kind you install under the kitchen counter – as opposed to the one that is simply mounted or attached to the faucet. Not only does this under-the-counter purifier help you conserve water; it also packs in better filtering capabilities, getting rid of metals, bacteria, pesticides, and other similar elements before running water emerges from out of your kitchen tap.
8. Go for eco-friendly flooring and counters
A major green kitchen remodel project wouldn’t be complete without environment-friendly flooring and countertops. Classic linoleum and cork are great materials for your kitchen floor since they’re made with renewable resources. For the hardest-working surface in your kitchen, meanwhile, a butcher block or tile countertop are only some of the eco-friendly options. Or you may work together with Chicago’s green contractors to replace, repair, renew, re-grout, refinish, or install your kitchen countertop. This will really depend on the material with which the surface is made, but the key is to make this part of the kitchen as durable, easy-to-clean, and safe as possible.