Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Going Green

Thus far in 2010, I have completed several projects with clients who wanted to get creative with recycled kitchen products to not only help the environment, but also to better use the existing space in their homes.  Currently there is a greater awareness around using green products and adopting smarter habits as consumers.  More and more people are getting behind the idea of reusing the products already in our homes instead of disposing of them in a landfill.  And if you absolutely must get rid of something, be “green” about it!

Here are some of my quick tips for recycling kitchen and bath products:
1. The Reuse Centers in Minneapolis and Maplewood take certain items that they can resell for other products

2. I mentioned in a previous Color Blog a paint company (can’t find name, I will keep looking) that mixes old paints together to make new paints

3. Old appliances can be recycled when you purchase new appliances thru All, Inc.

4. Craig’s List can be a great way to sell old products. Be sure to follow the simple rules to protect your identity and only show products outside your home with a buddy along!

5. Visit these websites for information on recycling various household products:

Here are a few of my recent “green” projects:
1. This client “traded” out her old kitchen refrigerator with a friend’s basement refrigerator. They also reused most of their previous kitchen cabinets and laminate counters to create an extra storage space in their garage.
2. Another Client reused almost all of her old kitchen cabinets by moving them to a laundry room that was turned into a fantastic sewing center! The laundry room/sewing center almost became the best part of her remodel, second only to a great new kitchen and eating area. 
3. This client previously had a stainless shelf created to make the space over her stove non-combustible.  Wanting to keep it in the new kitchen, we had the shelf refashioned, and also ordered the EQ “faux stainless” laminate countertops (made with a 100% pre-consumer recycled Skyblend material with no added urea formaldehyde in the processing).  Take a look at the undermount sink next to the laminate counters!
4. This client had a fairly new over-the-range microwave that she loved, and that happened to match the color scheme of the new appliances, so my contractor and I designed a cabinet to house the microwave, leaving plenty of air space underneath.
5. I worked with this client by refinishing these cabinet doors and removed old handles and added dark stained oak trim with stainless pulls. There is more work to do on this kitchen, (wrong paint color!) and we are adding the updates slowly over several years. New counters are next!

11 ways to go green!
From Women’s Day Kitchens and Baths Magazine, April 2009

1. Fix a drip. It wastes lots of water!
2. Get clean by using natural cleaning agents
3. Be water wise by installing 1.6 gallon or less low-flow toilets
4. Be even more water wise by installing a tankless water heater. Recycle bath and shower water into water for plants
5. Smell sweet by using low or no VOC paints
6. Be water smart by adding an aerator to your faucets
7. Vent a little by adding proper ventilation to keep air quality good inside the home
8. Think small when adding new appliances and consider energy star rated appliances
9. Lighten up by adding a skylight for natural light or remove heavy window treatments to let the light in!
10. Divide and conquer by dedicating a space to recyclables
11. Grow green in the kitchen by growing your own herbs and salad greens