Kitchens get an eco-friendly boost from energy-efficient appliances, water-saving fixtures and improvements in indoor air quality.
While going green in the kitchen will save you money on energy costs, eco-friendly products have a reputation for being expensive, frumpy and difficult to find.
The good news: Earth-friendly products are available in a wider range of styles and costs than ever before, letting you go any shade of green you desire.
Kitchens are the energy hog of the home, thanks to the refrigerator, which is second only to heating and cooling equipment in energy use. Throw in ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, microwaves and other small appliances, and you can see how a kitchen can cook up most of your energy bill.
Decreasing energy use is not the only way to make your kitchen green. You can also create an eco-kitchen by improving indoor air quality; using materials made from recycled or rapidly renewable resources; and by choosing countertops, cabinets, flooring and finishes with low environmental impact.
The easiest way to go green is to boot energy-gobbling appliances. If you're thinking of renovating, consider complying with green building standards, such as the EPA's Energy Star or the Department of Energy's Building America, which are 30 percent to 70 percent more efficient than regular code. A green kitchen remodel won't bring your entire home up to green standards, but it will noticeably fatten your wallet.
Photos by Scott Martin, Blue Plum Design