Reduce, reuse, REMODEL. If your kitchen needs a new look, recycling old materials is a great way to take an eco-friendly approach to revamping the space while giving it a unique style.
Here are some ways to go green while remodeling.
Reclaimed Wood Cabinets from Homestead Kitchen
When choosing wood for your cabinets, or any other part of your kitchen for that matter, try to find reclaimed wood. For example, salvaged lumber makes for great cabinet doors. Check the classifieds in your local paper or Craigslist to find inexpensive (or free) old wood.
If you don’t get reused wood, make sure that what you pick has the Forest Stewardship Council’s stamp of approval. FSC-certified wood comes from responsibly harvested forests where there is no clear cutting. Bamboo is another good renewable choice because it grows back quickly. It’s also stronger than a lot of other hardwoods.
Under Cabinet Lighting from Home Depot
Under Cabinet Lighting by Kitchens & Baths Unlimited
Buy either LED or fluorescent lights to go under your cabinets to light your counter top. These will use the least amount of energy and even more power can be saved if you get a dimmer.
Recycled Terrazzo Countertop from Earth911
You can get a variety of colors from using recycled glass when mixed with concrete or cement. These countertops won’t absorb any liquid and are very durable. It will typically cost you between $50 and $80 per square foot.
Paperstone Countertops by Green Building Supply
Recycled paper is a cheaper option than glass at about $40 per square foot but, since they are resin-based, they can be scratched easily. They also aren’t as heat-resistant as other materials.
Recycled Aluminum Countertop from 708 Studios
Reusing aluminum is a great green alternative to stainless steel but, ranging from $65 to $100 per square foot, be prepared to pay a premium price for the sleek look.
Green options for floors
Cork flooring has many benefits and is a rapidly renewable resource. It’s taken from bark that is able to grow back quickly. It also doesn’t contain any toxins and is easy to clean. Cork is sound absorbent and offers good support for your feet.
Ceramic Tile from Architect Magazine
If you choose tile, make sure you get tile that is made from either 100% recycled glass or ceramic. Keep in mind, glass tiles scratch much more easily than ceramic ones.
Bamboo Flooring from The Flooring Girl
Bamboo works great as kitchen flooring because it’s easy to clean, moisture-resistant and durable. To clean it, just sweep and do some light mopping. Avoid using any household cleaners.
A convection oven will cook food faster than a conventional oven, helping to reduce your power usage.
Get a refrigerator that has top and bottom refrigerator/freezer unit as opposed to one where they are side by side. This will cut down on the amount of cold air that escapes.
Green Your Air Quality
Another benefit of eco-friendly kitchen remodeling is that you’ll be improving the air around you. Many new cabinets, counters and floors have finishes containing toxins that make their way into the air and into your body. Avoid any materials that contain carcinogens such as formaldehyde.
Do you know of other ways to go green while remodeling your kitchen? Post your ideas in the comments section below.
Chris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs. Chris also writes on kitchen design ideas for the Home Depot website. He provides advice to homeowners on cabinets, islands, faucets and other fixtures.