How to Design an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Go green and follow these easy design tips to create an affordable, stylish and eco-friendly kitchen.

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These small tiles of recycled glass by Oceanside Glasstile create a durable and easy-to-clean backsplash.

Appliances approved by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star program use 10 percent to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models, reducing energy costs. Scott says that energy-efficient appliances, improved insulation and thermally efficient doors and windows are standard inclusions in his remodeling jobs. "These products will help almost any kitchen be more efficient and comfortable," he says.

In addition to the energy cost savings and lower environmental impact, there are health benefits. The U.S. EPA estimates that Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, and the concentration of pollutants indoors is often 10 to 100 times greater than outdoors. The kitchen contributes its share of indoor air pollution through cooking fumes and gases from flooring, paints, cabinets and countertops.

Green products reduce exposure to air pollutants. For example, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) typically are emitted by paints, wood preservatives and other sources. These gases have short- and long-term health effects, including symptoms that range from eye, nose and throat irritation to cancer. Eco-safe paints are VOC-free, as are cabinets, countertops and flooring.

Resources
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Blue Plum Design
BuildingGreen
Build America
Energy Star
EPA
NAHB Research Center
National Kitchen & Bath Association
U.S. Green Building Council

Photos by Scott Martin, Blue Plum Design

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