Green Makeovers for Kitchens and Baths, Part 1

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kitchen1Whether you’re on a tight budget or not, there are plenty of eco-friendly ideas you can implement to give your kitchen or bathroom a whole new look.  In this first post, we’ll take a look at inexpensive, green fixes for these spaces — from decorative elements, to energy-efficient  and water-saving strategies that will save you money on utility bills.

  • Paint the walls with a low-VOC paint that won’t compromise your indoor air quality.  You’ll be amazed at the dramatic difference a coat of paint can make!
  • Cabinets outdated?  If they are in good shape, some new moldings and paint may do the trick (there are countless DIY projects on the web). Recycled glass knobs and handles will add a fresh, modern style.  If the cabinet doors are in rough shape, but the cabinet frames are still salvageable, refacing them is an affordable option, and you’ll be sending much less waste to the landfill.
  • Recover your chairs, or add new window treatments, with natural fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, or linen, colored with low-impact dyes.
  • Add new kitchen linens or bath towels made from organic cotton, hemp, or flax linen.
  • Accessorize with eco-friendly candles, tableware, rugs made from organic or recycled materials, air-cleaning houseplants, or a bouquet of sustainably grown flowers arranged in a decorative vase made from recycled materials.
  • Brighten up the room with energy-saving CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) or LEDs (Light-emitting diode bulbs).  These bulbs use only a small fraction of the energy that conventional incandescent light bulbs use and they last much longer!
  • Change out an outdated light fixture with an Energy Star rated model.  These stylish fixtures will save money on your electric bills.
  • Turn off the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher.  Your dishes will still get dry, plus you’ll save energy and money on your electric bills.
  • Add inexpensive, water-conserving aerators to your faucets.  If it’s time to replace your faucet, a WaterSense fixture will look great and save money on water bills.
  • Fix leaks.  A dripping faucet or leaky toilet will waste gallons and gallons of precious water.
  • Get rid of bottled water and use filtered tap water instead.
  • Compost kitchen scraps instead of using the garbage disposal.  Compost makes a nutrient-rich amendment for your lawn, garden and flowerbeds.
  • Clean with natural products — either home-made or store-bought varieties.  These are much safer to use around children and pets.
  • Ventilate kitchens and baths with exhaust fans that expel moist air and odors to the outdoors.  This will help to avoid mold and mildew build-up.
  • Recycle paper, cardboard, bottles, cans, and anything else your municipality processes.

photo courtesy of Country Living magazine

Tag(s): Greening the Home, Kitchens And Baths, Money Saving

Comments

4 Responses to “Green Makeovers for Kitchens and Baths, Part 1”

  1. Tim Rigby on September 24th, 2009 7:42 am

    A great post and something we encourage with our clients to look at all the alternatives to replacing furnitre first.
    We are working with a client at present who wants a ‘green kitchen’ by reusing the cabinets and providing ecofriendly doors painted to their colour choice in VOC paints this meets both their green needs and more importantly budget.
    Replacing the tap with a filter tap is also a great idea, but a more cost effective idea is to fit a filter to the existing kitchen tap. see http://www.ecokitchensonline.com/filter-taps-water-filters/abode-swich/abode-swich-circular-chrome-p-1113.html
    We welcome any comments or you need any advice.
    Regards
    Tim Rigby

  2. Faucet Aerator Guy on September 26th, 2009 8:52 pm

    When installing faucet aerators or fixtures know that you can get low flow faucet aerators starting at 2.2 gallons per minute all the way down to .5 gallons per minute from any local hardware store.

  3. Joyce Benson on October 2nd, 2009 8:57 am

    Tim,
    I think you mean VOC-free paints?

  4. Berkey Water Filter on January 19th, 2010 5:20 pm

    Definitely don’t use bottled water. Not just because of the environmental issues with all that nasty plastic. But also because there are so many toxic chemicals in tap water.

    Make sure you find a water filter that eliminates all pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, fluoride and viruses.

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