Green Your Kitchen for Less Than $1,000

Creating an eco-kitchen is part consumerism and part activism. The right mix is up to you.

| September/October 2003

The faucet drips. The fridge seems to leak cool air. The old vinyl floor is dirty and smells like mildew. The room is lit by a blast from the lone bulb at the room’s center, and the harvest-gold paint job casts a lonely ambiance.

Sound like your kitchen—or even parts of your kitchen? Don’t despair. For less than $1,000 (maybe just a hair less) and some good old-fashioned hard work, you can create the eco-kitchen of your dreams.

White and light

Nothing updates a room like a fresh coat of paint. So kick off your kitchen project with two gallons of soft-white, nontoxic AFM Safecoat paint. The paint will reflect more of the sun’s natural brightness, reducing the need for additional lighting during daytime.

In the evening, light fixtures can serve as a kitchen’s focal point—and make a big difference in the kitchen’s efficiency—so before you buy, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star website for guidance. Ceiling fan lighting doubles the benefit by cutting back on air conditioning and heating bills; the Hunter Fan Company’s sixty-inch graphite Oceanus Ceiling Fan, light kit, and remote control unit offers an impressive EnergyStar rating. Screw in compact fluorescent light bulbs, then establish a few house rules for fan use, gleaned from Energy Star:

• Switch off the fan and light when you leave the kitchen. Fans don’t cool a room, they simply cool its inhabitants by circulating air.

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