K+BB - November 2008 - (Page 42)

Green on a Budget Eco-friendly kitchens don’t have to cost a bundle Remodeling a kitchen is an expensive process, and those who seek environmentally friendly products but are operating under a tight budget may feel they cannot afford to go green. Fortunately, the opposite is true. Builders, architects and consumers have long equated “green” with “more expensive,” and while there are many excellent choices for those seeking a luxury kitchen, some lesser-known and much less expensive options offer the same environmental benefits. With a little knowledge and research, building or remodeling green can be easy and within your customer’s budget. When you’re seeking green kitchen cabinets, countertops and flooring, the three areas to consider are: 1) materials—Is the product made with recycled or renewable material?; 2) emissions—Does the product contain har mful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?; and 3) energy—Does the product help reduce water or energy usage in the home? Each of these can have environmental advantages, and while finding products that qualify in multiple areas is certainly possible, some customers may seek a kitchen with all recycled products or one with the minimum amount of harmful emissions. Gauge your customer on what area of green is most important to him or her. BREAKING IT DOWN • Cabinets. The cabinets will be the toughest part of the kitchen to bring under budget, as FSC-certified wood cabinets—or those made from recycled wood particleboard—can be expensive. Some custom cabinetmakers use water-based glues and adhesives (to limit the amount of harmful formaldehyde), but chances are they will come at a premium. A number of cabinets made from wheat, like Koch Cabinets, have also been introduced due to the demand for green cabinets. Affordable options can be found among the members of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). A list of certified companies can be found on its website at www.kcma.org. Cabinetmakers in the program lower the environmental impact of their products through their manufacturing processes, often with dramatic results. Some companies, like Quality Cabinets, have shifted their manufacturing to a zero-waste process. These companies are encouraged to lower the formaldehyde level of their cabinets, but you will have to do a little research to find out if the ESP cabinets offered at your local dealer are lower-emitting cabinets. Some companies in the program offer only a limited selection of styles and colors, but they may be some of the least expensive green cabinets on the market. • Countertops. Easily the least expensive green countertop available is a recycled particleboard laminate countertop sealed with a water-based sealant. Manufacturers are only now starting to realize the demand for these green laminate countertops, as builders love the combination of no emissions, recycled product and a very low price tag. They should price out at about a quarter of the cost of other, more popular green countertops such as PaperStone, quartz, Corian and engineered stone. • Flooring. You can’t beat linoleum for its combination of low cost and high environmental benefits. Linoleum is made from linseed oil, which is a renewable resource, and is hypoallergenic. It’s easy to clean and comes in cool-looking patterns. However, make sure you choose true linoleum and not a linoleum-like polyvinyl flooring, which isn’t made from linseed oil and may contain higher quantities of semi-toxic flame retardant. • Plumbing. When it comes to plumbing, just keep it simple. Your client can get an inexpensive stainless-steel dropin sink and be comforted by the fact that all stainless steel made today contains at least 50 percent (and up to 80 percent) recycled steel. If your client is so inclined, many faucets can be fitted with a $10 to $15 aerator that significantly cuts water usage. • Appliances. Always seek the Energy Star rating on appliances. The Energy Star website (www.energystar.gov) lists appliances and their savings as compared to standard appliances. To save money, suggest to your clients that they limit the bells and whistles on their appliances, such as in-door water and ice dispensers. Many homeowners are now using an inexpensive device that turns off all appliances with one switch, further reducing energy usage. MORE OPTIONS One green option worth the money is a vent that ducts to the outside. This will greatly increase the indoor air quality. In addition, for backsplashes, many tile companies offer beautiful and inexpensive recycled glass tile, or, if you are artistic, create your own with a random collection of tile pieces and closeout tile. Budget constraints should not get in the way of building or remodeling green. The right products are out there and within budget. It may take a little detective work to find what’s available in your market, but it will be well worth it as green is slowly becoming the new mainstream. s —Joel Bittle is the director of RSI Green, the green building division of RSI Kitchen & Bath in St. Louis, MO. 42 + K BB November July 2004 2008 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.energystar.gov http://www.kcma.org http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of K+BB - November 2008

K+BB - November 2008
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Feedback
Products
Trends
Special Green Section
Editorial/Green Intro
California Greenin'
Buying Green
Serious About Green
Natural Selection
Q&A
Control Issues
Green on a Budget
Airing Out
Earthly Wonder
Under the Influence
Cover Story: Under the Influence: An Asian-Inspired Kitchen with Green Appeal
Green Products
Ad Index
Editorial Index
Favorites

K+BB - November 2008

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