Green Kitchen Updates

Turn your power-hungry kitchen into an energy-saving space buyers will love

Don't forget the dishwasher; it's another great place to save energy. Small households that don't use many dishes can cut energy use with drawer-sized dishwashers, Roberts says, "but if you create a lot of dirty dishes, one big model is best. I've seen some luxury homes that have two or three of the drawer-sized models, and that's not saving energy." 

Get eco-conscious cabinets

The wood in most cabinetry contains urea-formaldehyde, which can be harmful to your health. Look for cabinets made from solid wood or alternative materials such as wheatboard, and finished with nontoxic finishes from companies like Neil Kelly Cabinets and Humabuilt.

"Cabinetry is still tricky," says Scott Martin, founder of Blue Plum Design, a kitchen design firm in San Francisco that specializes in green kitchen renovations. "There aren't a lot of green options out there and you're most likely going to pay a premium in this area."

Purchasing cabinets made with sustainable woods is another way to make your kitchen eco-friendly. Bamboo, for instance, is one of the world's fastest-growing plants, taking just three to six years to grow large enough to harvest. Bamboo doesn't require pesticides, which means less chemical pollution and cleaner air. Eucalyptus is another good option.

If you're remodeling, save resources by updating only the front of the cabinets. You'll save money and still get a new look. You can also shop for recycled hardware at flea markets, or buy lightly used cabinetry at a building salvage shop.

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