Green Kitchen Remodeling: Beyond the Avocado Shades of Paint

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Trees are green – in the spring and summer. But environmentally speaking, trees are green all year round. When we “think green,” preserving trees – along with the rest of the earth – counts no matter what the season is.

So if you’re doing a kitchen remodeling project, what’s the best way to think green? And no, we don’t mean which shade of paint you’ll use on the walls. How do you think green when you decide what wood will compose your cabinetry?

Most kitchen remodeling companies offer cabinetry made of all kinds of classic woods – pine, cherry, oak, maple, hickory, mahogany, and birch.

If you’re thinking green while reviewing these shades and grains of brown, look for wood that is FSC-certified. That means the Forest Stewardship Council has made sure that the wood used to make the cabinets is from trees that are grown and harvested in a sustainable way.

Bamboo, for example, is a popular product to make cabinetry from because of its fast-growing sustainability, as well as what a beautiful and durable finished product it makes in your kitchen.

Another green cabinetry option is reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood means the cabinets are made from trees that have already fallen, or were being removed anyway because of a construction project. It also can mean using wood that was saved from buildings that have been demolished.

Save some of your own wood. If you are installing new cabinetry, decide if the interior of the cabinets can be salvaged. Maybe the shelving works just fine, and it’s only the cabinet faces that you want to upgrade.

Let’s move on to the countertops. Usually, the crème de la crème of Baltimore kitchen remodeling is the sparkling granite countertop. Countertops can also be made from wood, quartz, stainless steel, concrete, and laminate. Aside from the fact that most options come in earth tones, which are the most green, environmentally speaking? How about a material that is made from more than 90 percent recycled material and can come in any color, or collection of colors, under the sun? It’s called Terrazzo. Terrazzo countertops are composed of recycled glass and crushed stone, which are held together by epoxy or cement, and buffed smooth. Terrazzo is strong, requires little maintenance, and can come in as many colors as the glass can.

Another stone-like countertop option, available in many colors, is Paper Stone, which is actually made from hard resin and recycled paper fibers. It can dull if scrubbed with a rough sponge, so use a cloth, but it’s otherwise extremely durable and heat resistant.

Now, onto the floor. You have your ceramic tile options, as well as stone, linoleum, vinyl, and even hardwood. What’s greenest? Bamboo can be used here again, as well as in your cabinetry, for the same reasons as above. Bamboo makes a very durable floor. So do recycled rubber tiles, and they’re very easy on the feet if you do a lot of standing and cooking. Linoleum is a good choice, as it is made from natural products including linseed oil, cork, and flour. Vinyl, however, is made from petroleum, and petroleum products are a green-thinking no-no. Ceramic tiles are still a good choice, as well as a classic one. Ceramic tiles do not give off gaseous pollutants, like vinyl will, nor do they absorb them. Also, most ceramics factories manufacture their tiles in a “closed loop” system, which means they recycle their used raw materials back into the production
cycle.

Keep ceramic tiles in mind for your backsplash as well.

Now, it’s time for the walls. Go ahead and think green. Or blue. Or mauve. Or yellow, or creamy white.Pick your color and celebrate! You’re creating a new kitchen, and being environmentally friendly, too.