(This is Part two of a three part series on designing the ideal green kitchen.  Click here to read Part One)

If you’re like me, you and your family are probably still enjoying your nice big Thanksgiving meal and all the wonderful leftovers that came along with it.  green kitchenThanks to my wonderful wife, my Thanksgiving meal seems to magically appear on the table. All I have to do is carve the turkey. However, I know that the meal is a result of many hours of hard work in the kitchen.

This week is part two of a three part series on the ideal green kitchen. Since my wife is the cooking expert in our home, I’ve asked Karen to help me out by describing the features and technology she would include in her ideal green kitchen.

Last month, I discussed how Energy Star appliances and green lighting can help make your kitchen a greener place. This month, I will take a look at the surfaces in your kitchen and how to select safer, more environmentally friendly options.

Kitchen surfaces

Cabinets, counters and floors – kitchen surfaces are the next area my amazing wife said she would focus on in her ideal green kitchen. Karen has always been a bit of a health fanatic, so when it comes to having a green kitchen, she wants to know that surfaces are free from harmful chemicals while still look ing great and are easy to clean.

Countertops are the kitchen sur face where people are mostly likely to use green products. Today, there are so many different types of green countertop materials, including bamboo, concrete, recycled plastic, wood, glass and more.

One of our favorite new products is the VT Industries EQCoun tertop. They are constructed with 100 percent recycled cores with no added urea-formaldehyde and use low-VOC, water-based adhesives, so they are safer for food preparation.

EQCountertops use only Green guard Indoor Air Quality Certi fied laminates. In addition, these post-formed countertops are easy to maintain and offer the look and feel of granite.

With all the great countertop materials available, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty in order to have a healthy surface on which to prepare your food.

Countertops aren’t the only surface in your kitchen that can be improved with green building materials. Many types of traditional cabinetry and flooring materials are heavily laden with toxic paints, lac quers and heavy metals, all of which can be bad for your health.

Just imagine the amount of time your food, dishes, cups, flatware and cookware spend sitting in your cabinets. Why not use a material that isn’t going to leach harmful chemicals onto your dishes and into your food?

The most important thing to look for in green cabinetry and flooring is that it is urea-form aldehyde free. Formaldehyde gas can cause acute heath issues when found at or above 0.1 parts per million. These health effects include watery eyes, nausea, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, skin rashes and burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat.

Many manufacturers have real ized the potential health hazard of urea-formaldehyde and are now of fering formaldehyde-free products at no upcharge. That means you’re getting products that are better for your health at no additional charge. The next thing to consider in green cabinetry and flooring is to make sure all of the wood used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is the pri mary agency responsible for certifying managed forestry operations. The FSC sets high standards for manufac turers to help protect our forests.

Finally, you want to make sure the finishes on all your kitchen sur faces are low-VOC. These finishes can take extra work to apply and require specialized skill. VOCs are chemicals that volatilize under am bient conditions and react with sun light to produce smog. That means VOCs could be creating harmful pollution inside your home. These harmful chemicals can cause head aches, loss of coordination, nausea and other health problems.

These are just a few ideas on how to make the surfaces in your kitchen safer and more environmentally friendly. Make sure to watch next month for part three of this series where I will discuss kitchen fixtures and other miscellaneous things you can do in your ideal green kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Estate Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, and Neighborhood Retail.



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