The sustainability movement has invaded every room of the house. It’s now commonplace for contractors to inquire before a project whether or not a homeowners wants to “go green” with it. This is good news for the planet, but challenging news for your pocketbook.
Kitchen remodels are already some of the most expensive home improvement products. In fact, according to last years numbers a kitchen remodel Los Angeles was second only to home additions in average expenditure. If you want to go green you can expect that price tag to creep up even farther.
Fortunately, there are ways to craft a sustainable home kitchen without knocking the room down and building to LEED specifications. Before you make any hasty decision, consider these five green kitchen remodeling tips. They’ll protect your bank account and the Earth.
1) Seal your windows and doors
This is a super cheap and super easy way to conserve on energy in your new kitchen. Drafts can increase your energy consumption – and your bills – by up to 30-percent. The U.S. Department of Energy has confirmed that this is the number one place where most Americans consume unnecessary energy. With oil prices spiking worldwide and electricity bills on the rise, 30-percent amounts to a serious chunk of change over time. Find your drafts using a candle or a stick of incense to track the flow of air. Use caulking or weather strips to seal any cracks that are allowing air to escape.
2) Purchase a programmable thermostat
Programmable Thermostats are excellent investments in any kitchen remodel project. Most units pay for themselves over the course of one season. This panel is simply a tool to help you maintain temperature levels in your home to the degree. By keeping a level thermostat during the day and reducing your home heating at night, you can save as much as $300 per year. The cheapest models are available at home improvement stores for as little as $49.99. If you’re concerned about toxicity, don’t be. Programmable thermostats no longer contain dangerous heavy metals like Mercury.
3) Upgrade your faucets
Leaky faucets aren’t just an annoyance, they’re a major source of water waste in most home kitchens. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that a single leaky faucet wastes 3 gallons of water each day. When you plan your kitchen remodel, make sure all the pipes are tightened and the faucets are cutting edge. A nice, leak proof faucet is worth the negligible added expense. Every drop of water makes a difference.
4) Use energy saving bulbs
This one’s easy. Replace all of your old, inefficient coil light bulbs with modern CFLs. CFL light bulbs draw significantly less power from the grid and last months longer than older bulbs. This upgrade saves you money in two places.
5) Shop Energy Star
Energy Star kitchen appliances are the gold standard for any green kitchen remodel. This line of products was actually designed by the EPA to help homeowners get control of their energy consumption. Keep an eye out for blue-and-white labels.