Just to go a bit further into the argument to harvest rain – although hard numbers on how it can positively impact the environment would help make a stronger case, I think the following videos and links provide some pretty solid first hand evidence that it can make a difference environmentally. Read More
Over seven billion gallons per day. That’s how much the EPA estimates is used nationwide on landscape irrigation. Now, no matter how you spin that, it’s far too much water. And the scary thing is most people don’t even think about it. I’ve got a friend who has a large, lush green lawn and I asked him what he did to make it look so nice. Read More
By now everyone should know that green is in. It’s trendy, hip, happenin’ and is slowly creeping its way toward mainstream. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, but among those becoming environmentally conscious there’s no need to feel shameful or dirty (see photo to the left) for not having yet adopted the tree hugger ways. That being said, there’s no reason you can’t get off your butt and start making some changes to your home right now.
Let’s take your kitchen for example – one of the areas that could benefit most by going green. There’s so much going on in that part of the house in terms of materials, chemicals and more energy being used than a family of hamsters on crack, but so much can be done to transform an environmentally unfriendly kitchen into a sort of tree hugger utopian chuck wagon. Of course, there’s a price to all of this happy earth kind of living. I mean, it’s not called “green” for nothing. Depending on how far you’re willing to go, you may need to expend a wad of green to get the green kitchen you’re longing for – though don’t take my word for it, just check out Gwendolyn Bounds from the Wall Street Journal.
Her Eco-kitchen challenge shows how far people can go with green design – $83,000 and 484 days after the water line of her refrigerator sprung a leak causing major damage, she had a new environmentally friendly kitchen. Now I don’t have a problem with people who spend lavishly on home renovations especially when they have that sort of expendable income (I should note that a portion of the cost was covered by her insurance) and she did have a pretty large kitchen to contend with, but I believe you can be equally as green and just as stylish for a lower cost. It would be great to see a breakdown of that $83,000 to see where that money was spent. Having to replace windows, drywall and such could add up quick so an itemized list would help clear up what I consider to be a fairly expensive renovation.
I loved the part of the article that basically said $83,000 was a good price in comparison to the average cost of other kitchens of the same quality, which happen to be about 20% more than what she paid for hers. After spending 83 grand I know that would make me feel better. I also loved her “didn’t break the bank” comment in the video. Clearly, Wall Street Journal readers are a more affluent crowd than the folks I hang with. But that’s okay. I have a great appreciation for what she did and the statement she made in creating her green kitchen.
And for some general background on eco-friendly kitchens I found Kirsten Ritchie, Director of sustainable design at Gensler, who did an interview with GreenHomeGuide back in 2005 where she spoke of making a greener kitchen. I found her list of environmental problems associated with conventional kitchens thought provoking and her answer to the last question about her favorite innovations or design ideas for a green kitchen gave me some practical ideas on what to include in a green kitchen design. Her mention of a “cold box” sent me searching on the web for someone who makes or sells this product but I can’t find anything on the topic. I’m assuming it’s something similar to a cooler you’d take on a camping trip or an ice box from the old days, though not quite as cold. But I’ve got nothing to go on so if anyone has a clue, please fill me in.
And finally, there is Michele Foley from CHOW who put together a comprehensive guide to building the ultimate green kitchen. It breaks down the many green options for floors, cabinets, countertops, appliances and other miscellaneous kitchen items and provides links for more information on each of the examples. I especially liked seeing all the options available for countertops. I had never even heard of some of those materials, which just goes to show that a little research can go a long way to turning the thought of going green into reality.