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pipiThe “going green” movement is gaining momentum every day. There are two big motivational factors: going green saves money in the long run and is eco-friendly. It is true that insulating your home and replacing the old one-pane windows is costly. However, you are guaranteed to get large energy savings out of it. Modern technologies combined with reusable products such as salvaged hardwood flooring or bricks are eco-friendly. They save mother nature from overuse and are easily restore to their original beauty. We have used green products for years now: we only work with natural wood and stone and use only no- or low-VOC stains and finishes. here are some tips on what to avoid and look for when it comes to turning your kitchen and bathrooms green:
What to avoid in a kitchen remodel?

  • MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and particle board whenever possible. Both are common materials used in countertop and cabinet construction, as well as very common in lower-end doors and drawer fronts. Both off-gas urea formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. If you do use MDF or particleboard, seal it with several coats of a low- or no-VOC paint or sealer.
  • Avoid vinyl flooring. It has a short lifespan, traps moisture (which can lead to delamination, mold growth, and rot), and emits vinyl chloride fumes, a proven carcinogen.

pipi31What to look for in a kitchen remodel?

  • Use solid wood.It is natural, it doesn’t have chemicals such as the carcinogen formaldehyde found in MDF and particle boards, and it is not exposed to contaminations and treatment. If you can, use recycled doors and drawer fronts. That might not be an option for everybody though as doors and drawer fronts in older homes tend to be of non-standard sizes.
  • Use water-based stains and finishes. Gone are the years when water-bourne stains and finishes meant lots of money spent and low quality products. The contemporary water-based products have low- or no-VOC and are much healthier for both the environment and your family.
  • Purchase solid slab countertops. Solid stone, concrete, and engineered stone countertops release almost no airborne toxins into your kitchen. They’re also virtually maintenance-free, and easier to keep clean than most other materials, which is a big plus when you consider that hard-to-clean countertops are a prime breeding ground for harmful, food-related bacteria. And engineered stone and decorative concrete countertops aren’t what you’d call second rate, either. It is true that you will probably have to polish them every now and then but this is nothing compared to risk associated with a more-porous surface such as laminate countertop and the formaldehide toxins coming out of those.
  • You can’t beat custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry isn’t cheap, but solid wood cabinets eliminate the health risks associated with cheaper cabinets made of MDF or particleboard. In the world of kitchen cabinets, there isn’t a product that comes close to custom cabinetry in quality, looks, function, or design.pipi2
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED lighting under the cabinets. The fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last 10 times as long. The LED lighting uses even less and lasts even longer.
  • Purchase energy-efficient appliances. Replacing your old appliances with ENERGY STAR-rated models can reduce the cost of running your appliances by more than 30 percent. A new refrigerator alone can save enough energy to light your home for three months, and a new dishwasher will save you up to $30 a year on your energy bills.
  • Install low-flow water faucets to reduce water usage. They can reduce water usage at these faucets by 60 percent.
  • Install an “on-demand” hot water circulation pump. These pumps send hot water to fixtures throughout your home in seconds, so you won’t waste water resources waiting for the hot water to arrive. They also allow your hot water heater to operate more efficiently, reducing energy costs.