The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it’s also the resident energy hog. Plus, your kitchen contributes its share of indoor air pollution through cooking fumes and gases from flooring, paints and countertops.
Green design is a science, not an art. Some principles apply across the board, but many measures will depend on your home’s age, construction techniques used, building codes, local climate (temperature and humidity) and the land on which your home sits. If you’re going to get serious about green, you’ll want to do a lot of research and eventually some testing. To help you along, we’ve provided this list of recommended resources.
American Lung Association Health House
Since 1993, this program has educated homeowners about indoor air quality and its impact on health, particularly asthma and allergies. The website provides an indoor air quality checklist, tip sheets on issues ranging from lead to radon, home maintenance guides and other information about creating a healthy home.
Begun as a utility-based energy-saving program, Earth Advantage now also addresses sustainability and home performance for Oregon and Washington states. The site includes an interactive quiz to see how green your home is, information on mortgages that reward green homeowners, and a design resource center that provides green recommendations, how-to info and products for each room of your new or existing home.
Looking to build or remodel a home in the Southeast? Born in Atlanta for new single-family homes, the EarthCraft House green building program has spread to multifamily existing homes, and throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. EarthCraft offers education, training and guidelines for builders, but homeowners can benefit from the knowledge, as well as a list of EarthCraft House builders, remodelers and communities.
Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor
Based on the information you plug into it — age of home, location and type of project — this interactive tool recommends specific energy-efficient, healthy, durable and sustainable improvements, such as adding insulation or using low-flow faucets. Information on costs and savings is included. The tool is based on information from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recommendations are based on averages and computer models, but it’s a good starting point.
To earn Energy Star qualification, homes and products must meet strict criteria for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The website offers lists of Energy Star-qualified products such as dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes washers, lighting fixtures and ceiling fans; information on tax credits, special offers or rebates; home improvement tips; and a database of builders, developers and home energy raters who can help you build an Energy Star home.
If you are still looking for more ways to go green during a remodel, head to PlumbTile and ask one of our expert employees. They will be able to help you find the perfect ways for you to incorporate your green fingerprint into your home.
The bathroom is full of harsh chemicals and high rates of water consumption. We need to find better ways of conserving our natural resources and cutting down the use of such chemicals. Why not start in the bathroom? There are quite a few ways in which you can go green in the bathroom. Continue reading
Living small is becoming more and more popular, and it no secret why. Lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint may drive many to reduce the size of their homes, but there is also the quickly-shrinking space available, lower average incomes, and rising costs of home ownership to consider. Not to mention, living in smaller spaces requires you to unload a lot of that old junk in your garage and provides a simpler, quiet life. That is, if it is done correctly.
When you are thinking about remodeling or even designing your new home the latest trend is Eco-friendly building materials, appliances and even ways to cut cost and your carbon footprint. Some of the things are simple everyday changes you can make such as making meals for the week instead of the day that will save on fuel costs and save time, use a cloth tote instead of paper or plastic and you can cut down on your plastic containers and go for glass container. But if you are like most people you want to make a bigger change so here are a few ideas that will make the transition to a eco-friendly kitchen a little easier: Continue reading
With winter upon us most of us are thinking about getting through the long days of winter but as we spend more time indoors we start to think about redecorating and sprucing things up. So what are the trends for the Spring 2015? Aquamarine, Scuba Blue, Lucite Green and Classic Blue along with Toasted Almond, Strawberry Ice, Tangerine, Custard, Marsala and Glacier Gray a mix of cooler color and warm tones. We also can’t leave out a nice mix of muted brights, pastels and nature-like neutrals to draw the eye to your favorite spots in your home.
2015 interior design and decorating ideas reflect the trends in architecture and art while emphasizing your individuality, simplicity and Green living ideas. Decorators are creating new, bold and fabulous designs by mixing traditional and contemporary, ethnic and retro, glamorous and rustic, and chic and barbarism.
You are now able to be completely free and creative to design a room that has both antique and modern bathroom furniture, ceramic and colored glass to create a warm cozy and inviting room one that you will find you will spend most of your days. Or you can take the distressed look of exposed brick walls and concrete surfaces mixed with soft and chic fabrics, delicate floral designs and the rich shine of polished metal to create a spectacular living space that will give you the look and feel of stepping into the past while remaining firmly rooted to the present.
When you are wanting to go green in your decorating don’t pass up reclaimed wood for your wood floors or walls, think about using old wood doors or even pallets to create interesting tables that will surely be the topic of conversations. You cannot go wrong or be too over the top in 2015 with your colors, textures or fabric styles, be creative and experiment to create your hidden oasis!
Ceramic tile is a versatile option that can fit any look as you are the artist. You can choose from a variety of patterns and colors for installation to make your new tile match any room or style in your house. Nearly impervious to moisture (less than 0.5% moisture absorption rate), ceramic tile is a great option in any room of your home and for those places exposed to moisture (when properly installed). Continue reading
What makes for an eco-friendly kitchen? That is a a really great question and the answer lies within your design technique, products and materials used.
Basically, it is biodegradable, sustainable items that are intended or perceived to have no harmful effect on the natural environment and its inhabitants. When it comes down to it, you can live healthier. Who doesn’t want that?
Now, there are a few different ways you can go about incorporating this into your daily lifestyle, while still being elegant and affordable. It will be an economical and ecological design, so to speak. They are very simple ideas that include:
1 Bamboo: This is the latest in environmentally, friendly kitchens. It can be used for backsplashes and flooring. Plus, as an added bonus, this material is really great for cutting boards for those fellow cooks out there.
2 Scrap wood: Basically, it is wood that nobody else desires, but it is still really good, hard wood that can be utilized.
3 Lighting: Try using fluorescents, in order to, cut down on lighting costs. They cut your energy use down by 50 percent. That is money right in your pocket.
4 Cork: This is a renewable resource made completely from the bark off of a tree. It is sound-absorbing, hypoallergenic and even resistant to mold and mildew. This is an excellent choice for kitchens!
5 Natural fabrics: Choose cotton or wool for your dining chairs and window dressings, especially since, man-made fabrics do contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
Now, there are many other possibilities that you could employ, but, as you can see, you can give your home a really lovely and beautiful, green makeover with these easy tips. You will be helping your environment with this terrific update. The heart of your home will truly be transformed for the better. Plus, you will absolutely, positively love the new look and feel of your kitchen design. The benefits will speak for themselves.
If you are re-modelling or finishing up a new space, no doubt you will be looking for options when it come to tile. Many people are very interested in green or sustainable options for everything they do and there are several very good choices “eco-friendly” choices when it comes to tile. There are many good reasons to choose eco-friendly tile for your application. Among them are the fact that some eco-friendly tile is made from recyclable materials which cuts down on material waste that is shipped to land fills. It also reduces mining of some materials that are used to manufacture conventional tile. And they look great too. So let’s take a look at some of the attractive choices you have for your tiling needs.
Some of the advantages and good qualities of cork are that it is a natural wood product that is lightweight, resilient and has good insulation properties. Most of the cork flooring and wall tile products are made from recycled cork materials. Even though cork is porous there are also eco-friendly finished that make it more durable and easy to maintain. Cork comes in many sizes and colors and can be used for flooring as well as walls and ceilings.
Coconut tile is made from coconut shells and chips. They are a new and unique application for materials that would no doubt go to waste otherwise. Coconut tile has a warm tropical feel and is good for use in kitchens and bathrooms. They are often made with sustainable adhesive and finishing materials as well. Cork comes in a variety of colors and textures and can be used to add contrast to a room or for a subtle complimentary look.
Using actual pebbles and small stones adhered to mesh backing, Pebble Tile gives a highly textured and natural look that can be used in a variety of situations including kitchen and bathroom flooring and wall covering, bathrooms, shower decks and patios and many more. Pebble Tile has interlocking patterns that give a seamless and custom look but can be somewhat more difficult to install. An experienced professional installer should be considered when you are using Pebble Tile.
Reclaimed Teak wood is one the newest and most popular materials for tiling. It is very eco-friendly since it is reclaimed wood and it comes in a very wide variety of colors, shades and sizes. Because different sizes, shapes and grains can be used in many unique ways, Teak Tile truly does have a mosaic look and feel. Teak Tiles come in different sizes depending on the application and gives a seamless rustic yet modern look and feel.
Stone Tile has been used as a flooring material for a very long time. It is durable, wear resistant and has a variety of shades, colors and applications. Wall Stone Tiles are also often used in as complimentary features in a room. Stone wall tiles can subtlely accent a feature or bring an effective contrast. There are several different materials used in stone tiles. Some of the more popular are: slate, travertine, marble, granite, limestone and sandstone.