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Increase the resale value of your home and do your part for the planet by incorporating one or more of these green innovations into your kitchen remodel.

Lighten Up!

Equipped with electricity-guzzling appliances, the kitchen uses more energy than any other room in the house. Lighten the load by replacing old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs with new, energy efficient compact fluorescent or LED lamps. Install freestanding fixtures above the sink and stovetop to effectively light those surfaces. Use dimmer switches and mount under-cabinet lights to illuminate work areas without relying on overheads. To brighten the kitchen without extra expense, eliminate heavy curtains, blinds and shutters. If you’re doing a complete kitchen remodel, consider cutting a skylight or adding a greenhouse window to flood your daytime kitchen with free, natural light.

Can You Do Bamboo?

Bamboo is a grass, and just like your front lawn, it keeps on growing after it’s been cut. This naturally renewing material is an environmentally friendly alternative to hardwood for flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops. When properly treated, bamboo is as strong as oak or maple, and it has a unique appearance that adds flair to modern kitchens. Ready-to-assemble bamboo kitchen cabinets are striking, strong, sturdy and can be installed by homeowners without extra expense. Don’t waste gas driving around to home improvement emporiums and cabinet showrooms. Shop online instead and reduce your carbon footprint even more.

The Bin Is In!

While you’re planning your new kitchen cabinet layout, make room for built-in recycling bins. The kitchen is more than a place to cook and eat. It’s also the room that produces the most household waste. Research has shown that people are more likely to recycle when it’s convenient and easy to do. Adding color-coded pullout drawers or boxes for paper, plastic, metal and glass makes it simple to separate and store your recycling until pick-up day. Contemporary kitchen designers recommend a kitchen built for multitasking. For best results, include a recycling center that is integrated into the work triangle of cutting board or island, stove and sink.

Oh, Sunny Day

Even if you don’t have the budget, the power usage or the inclination to convert your entire home to solar power, hot water heating may be an option. Solar water heating is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to utilize solar power in the average home. Unlike solar panels that must be connected to a regional grid, a single solar water heater is small and easy to maintain. The collector can be housed anywhere, not just on the rooftop, and it provides heated water only for household use. In smaller homes, a single solar water heater can provide a kitchen, bath and laundry room with plentiful hot water on demand.