"Greening" Your Kitchen - Some Ideas

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

I love talking about the Kitchen because there’s so much going on there that can be impacted.  I break my thoughts into 2 categories: Behavior Changes and remodeling ideas.

 

Behavior Changes:

Lancaster PA green buildingMany of the things we take for granted as “typical” kitchen behaviors can be changed to reduce waste:  Just a couple of examples would be:

1 - Stop accepting plastic bags at stores (they’re rampant these days).  Plastics inevitably make their way into the trash can to be dumped somewhere.  Start using a canvas grocery bag or two. 

2 - Another idea is to start a compost system.  You’d be amazed how much composting can reduce your trash load.  My family started this a couple of years ago (here’s a link to my blog article) and it works great. 

3 - A quick changeout (not really remodeling) is to replace bulbs with CFLs – kitchen lights seem to be on the most in our house.

4 - Environmentally sensitive cleaners are available everywhere today – replace toxic stuff under the sink and in the dishwasher.  This is great for kids, too, who are often exploring under the sink.

Then we get to the really little items that nobody seems to do – like filling the dishwasher all the way before running and running it late at night when the rates are lower, or leaving the blinds open if you get morning light, so the sun can warm the kitchen better than your heating system.

 

Remodeling:

Replacing all or part of the kitchen should be accompanied by some research into green alternatives to traditional materials.  Nearly everything (flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting, appliances, windows) is now available in several styles and price ranges to meet any taste while reducing environmental hazards and energy bills. 

1 – Cabinets – Use products utilizing FSC certified woods or new materials such as wheatboard rather then traditional formaldehyde-laced pressboard.  Even better – if you already have serviceable cabinets just get them refaced or refinished with new hardware, etc.  Substantially cheaper and old cabinets are reused.

2 – Flooring - New materials such as Recycled rubber and Marmoleum (updated) compete with ceramic tile these days.  Cork and Bamboo flooring is hot these days but they can be more soft and less suited to heavy kitchen traffic in my opinion.  (I’ve seen bamboo take a beating).Lancaster Green building, LIVE green Lancaster, Lancaster Green living

3 – Appliances – everybody knows about energy star appliances, but look closely at the ratings on the mandatory info sheet.  There will be differences in performance and savings over time.

4 – Countertops – I’ve seen concrete ones and they’re pretty neat.  With all the negative stuff coming out about granite (radon emissions) if you’re looking to remodel you should check out concrete or another surface that’s made of recycled stone materials. 

4 – Lighting – the hot new topic in lighting is LED – technology is catching up and these things are cheap to operate!  I think the expense is still a bit prohibitive, though.  Skylights and “solatubes” are nice too, but take more work (of course they’re free after that).

 

I’ve been advising home buyers on green remodeling ideas for a couple of years now.  I’m formalizing it into a program offering called “smartgreen”  

 

More on that later…press releases are coming!

_______________________________________________________________________

Listen to this article as a podcast at: Listen to my blog as podcasts!

 For Lancaster PA homes for sale click here. Jeff Geoghan is a top real estate expert in Lancaster County, PA, and an involved community member. Jeff's work has been featured in the Lancaster Newspapers, WGAL Channel 8, PA Business Journal and Wall Street Journal. Jeff's blog on Lancaster County and its homes is nationally-featured. Contact Jeff for more help with your Lancaster PA Real Estate needs. Jeff is also a photographer - view some of his lancaster pa photography portfolio. Comments are welcome!

 

 

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC 04/24/2009 07:00 AM
  2. Stanton Homes 12/09/2009 11:35 PM
  3. 1~Judi Barrett 06/23/2010 01:02 AM
Topic:
Real Estate General Information
Location:
Pennsylvania Lancaster County
Groups:
Realtors®
ECO ALL-STARS & GREENIES
Tags:
lancaster green building
lancaster county green living

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Rainmaker
1,229,716
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Jeff--good tips.  Plastics bags make great carry-all totes, but you are right they are bad for the environment.  Fortunately our major grocery store is celebrating Earth Day by giving a Free re-useable tote for each stuffed bag of blue bags.  I am collecting mine this week.  Mary Yonkers

Apr 20, 2009 11:31 AM #1
Rainmaker
238,029
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Hi Jeff - you have just introduced the four most cost effective things we can do to save the environment,  I've been keeping the canvas bags in my car that we all get at every conference and expo.  I've bought a couple insulated ones, too so that I can keep things cold all the way home.

Apr 20, 2009 02:22 PM #2
Rainmaker
334,644
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Mary - plastic bags aren't very strong, so they're not too useful beyond the moment.  When we get stuck with them we use them until they are wasted - then we put them in the recyling box.

Apr 20, 2009 02:43 PM #3
Rainmaker
334,644
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Marlene - you rock!  I love the cold pack bag idea.  Where did you get them?  Can you share a link?

Apr 20, 2009 02:44 PM #4
Ambassador
283,071
Scott Leaf Personal Real Estate Corporation
Keller Williams Elite Realty, Port Coquitlam, BC - Port Coquitlam, BC
Scott Leaf & Associates Real Estate Team

The  affordable bright LED light concept is still a ways away, I sure think it could save more electriciy then anything else yet discovered.  The only trouble with it is the light doesnt have the same spectrum that we are used too and can be akin to the spectrum from candlelight to most. 

 

Apr 20, 2009 05:02 PM #5
Rainer
45,021
Jenn Neumann Deer
RE/MAX Southern Shores - Surfside Beach, SC
Surfside Beach Real Estate

Thanks for the tips!  They are all great.  I have a canvas bag for shopping...which I do a LOT but when I go to the grocery store I still get the plastic bags because for doggie walking purposes I haven't found anything better...but yes, I'm all about being environmentally friendly. =)

Apr 21, 2009 02:15 AM #6
Rainer
37,484
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hi Jeff,

Great tips for sure! I love using my Hannaford cloth bags when I am in Shaws :-) Nobody says anything becuae I am doing something for the environment AND I'm spending money in those other stores. It's a win-win situation for everyone. By the way... I love the YouTube videos on your page. Do they show up on your outside blog as well?

Frances Sanderson, Franklin, NH  REALTOR®, Certified EcoBroker®

Apr 21, 2009 06:54 AM #7
Rainmaker
334,644
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Scott - I have a friend who makes LED arrays and they are plenty bright in lots of colors.  Off the shelf systems are still a few steps away, though.

Jenn - I can't argue with that use of plastic bags...

Frances - Why would anyone say anything?  I haven't really messed with the outside blogs and no they don't.

Apr 21, 2009 02:49 PM #8
Rainer
378,672
Edward D. Nikles
Ed Nikles Custom Builder , Inc. / Nikles Realty , Inc. - Milford, PA

Jeff , people could also reuse old removed cabinents in garage or basement areas for storage or workbench ! Any plastic shopping bags we do happen to get , we use as wastebasket liners . We use my company's " EXTREME GREEN TEAM " reusable recycled content shopping bags whenever possible ! The insulated bags are also available at www.4imprint.com , which is where I ordered my Green Bags from . Keepin' it Green !

May 05, 2009 02:12 PM #9
Rainmaker
334,644
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

Ed - did you buy the polypropylene ones there?  Just curious...

May 05, 2009 02:52 PM #10
Rainer
378,672
Edward D. Nikles
Ed Nikles Custom Builder , Inc. / Nikles Realty , Inc. - Milford, PA

Jeff , yes I ordered the polypropylene with 20% recycled content , as I couldn't justify paying that much more for 500 organic ones to hand out at our homeshow . The Thunder Totes are really nice & strong and have lots of room , not as Green as the Organic , but much better than plastic bags ! 

May 06, 2009 01:45 PM #11
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. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
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Jeff~

Wheatboard rather then traditional formaldehyde-laced pressboard for updating kitchen cabinets sounds like a Plan...but where do we get them?

Jul 16, 2009 10:27 PM #12
Rainer
46,398
Michelle Viggiano
Four Winds Healthy Home Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning - Scottsdale, AZ
healthyhomeaz

Great infomrative post. So true about the plastic bags.  The plastic trash island in the ocean is about the size of Texas and killing fish like crazy. Keep getting the word out!

Jul 25, 2009 12:38 PM #13
Rainmaker
191,858
Christa Ross
RE/MAX Select Realty - REALTOR and Green Homes Specialist - Pittsburgh, PA
Helping you buy and sell Pittsburgh's Best Homes

There is also a material called paperstone I believe that is truly made of compressed paper and can be used for countertops. It's pretty neat stuff. Great post.

Aug 25, 2009 09:04 AM #14
Ambassador
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1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Jeff, These are great ideas and all of us need to be thinking how to be good stewards of this earth.  Thanks for posting.

Jun 23, 2010 01:04 AM #16
Anonymous
Estelle Jenkins

Some great eco friendly alternatives to canvas bags are available too. You can go green on here www.logopropromotionalbags.com and find a good selection of eco-friendly bags made in Australia and Asia.

Sep 02, 2015 05:45 AM #17
Anonymous
uniformtailor

Business uniforms like T-shirts, Caps, Belts, Badges, Helmets, and Hoodies etc. with brand name and logo adds a sense of togetherness and fit-in in every individual.
https://uniformtailor.in/

Feb 14, 2020 02:51 AM #18
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