Today’s piece is a guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes on insurance and home improvement topics for homeownerinsurance.org. Do you have a kitchen remodel ahead of you, and would you like to do an eco-friendly refit, while also incorporating ongoing green-friendly practices when it comes to cleaning and maintaining it for the long-term? Well, read on, gentle reader … *** If you have been thinking about remodeling your kitchen or if you just want to make a few changes to lessen your negative impact on the environment, there are many different ways to go green in this area of the house. The following ideas will help you get started. Buy Recycled Materials Cabinets and countertop manufacturers have made it easier than ever to go green by creating products that contain recycled materials. Green cabinets and countertops are typically free of formaldehyde and finishes that have been know to volatile organic compounds into the environment. They may be made from all sorts of recycled materials including glass, paper, plastic, and soda cans. Use Renewable Materials Using renewable materials, such as bamboo or cork, for flooring is another good way to go green in the kitchen. Bamboo is a sustainable grass that regenerates eight times faster than hardwood. Cork is also renewable. It is stripped from living cork trees, which are not harmed by the harvest. Both materials are free of PVCs and formaldehyde. To make sure the building materials you will be using are harvested in a truly sustainable way, you can ask if the products have received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that encourages responsible forestry management. Buy a Water Filtration System Bottled water costs more than tap water–10,000 times more per gallon on average–and also leads to a great deal of garbage that takes hundreds of years to decompose. The problem is that many people do not like to drink tap water. The best fix for this is a water filtration system. Water filtration systems can remove 99 percent of the impurities that are often found in tap water, including arsenic, chlorine, nitrate, phosphate, lead, and mercury. These basic systems also waste less water than the average reverse osmosis system. Replace Old Appliances Replacing an old refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher with an updated energy efficient model is one of the quickest ways to go green in the kitchen. The exact amount of money and energy you save is dependent on the age of your appliances. According to Energy Star, replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s could save you over $100 each year on your utility bills, while replacing a refrigerator from the 1970s could save you as much as $200 each year. No matter how much money you save, you will definitely use less energy and reduce your negative impact on the environment. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies Although there are many different cleaning supply manufacturers that have taken steps to create greener products, nothing is more eco-friendly than homemade cleaning solutions. Homemade products help eliminate packaging waste. They are also safer, less expensive, and release fewer noxious chemicals into the air. A 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed with a gallon of water makes a thorough glass cleaner. A cup of vinegar and a cup of ammonia mixed with a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a gallon of water makes a great multi-purpose cleaner. A 1/2 cup of club soda mixed with a 1/4 teaspoon baby oil can be used to polish stainless steel. And if you want to freshen the air, all you have to do is heat and simmer a pot of water and then drop in a few whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, or pieces of dried orange peel. *** Thanks, Bailey! Of course, if you’re interested in other green lifestyle posts, and about emerging green technology and urban development, take a look at the BuildDirect green blog. Cheers, Rob.