A professional designer or contractor can help you create the eco-kitchen of your dreams.
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.
If you're going green in the kitchen, considering hiring a professional architect, contractor or designer to guide your way. Not only can they help you get the best design, they'll also be able suggest products and keep your budget on track.
To find a professional who specializes in green designs, Sean Ruck, spokesman for the National Kitchen & Bath Association, advises homeowners to discuss their intentions from the beginning.
"You'll know pretty quickly if green design and construction is something they are serious about," Sean says. "You can also check if they are certified through any state, regional or national green building associations."
Scott Martin agrees. Scott, founder of Blue Plum Design, a kitchen design firm in San Francisco that specializes in green kitchen renovations, says that stating your intention to go green from your first meeting is the best way to gauge if your architect or builder can accomplish your goals. He encourages homeowners to put design first and let materials and strategies follow.
"Look first for a professional who is accomplished in design," he says. "Even if yours is the first green project a professional has worked on, if he or she is excited about the concept and is a good designer, you'll be happy with the finished product."
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Blue Plum Design
NAHB Research Center
National Kitchen & Bath Association
U.S. Green Building Council
Photos by Scott Martin, Blue Plum Design