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Eco Checklist: Make Eco-Conscious Kitchen-Design Choices

Michelle Kaufmann of Michelle Kaufmann Designs ( recently created the green mkSolaire display house for Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Here, she names a few favorite eco-kitchen options:

Michelle Kaufmann’s mkISLAND doubles as a table—ideal for small, energy-efficient homes. The countertops are concrete blended with recylced materials like fly ash, porcelain or rice hulls (from $5,250;

Yolo Colorhouse paints don’t release harmful volatile compounds. They also come in a great selection of colors, including dark shades, which can be tricky to produce with green standards (from $40; 877-493-8275 or

Chilipepper’s under-sink pump has a microprocessor that reduces water waste. ($180; 800-914-9887).

LED bulbs are 70-90 times more energy-efficient than incandescents. Progress Lighting sells many LED fixtures (

Bamboo floors from companies like EcoTimber ( and Teragren ( are eco-conscious because bamboo grows back so quickly.

FSC-certified wood cabinets have the blessing of the Forest Stewardship Council. Neil Kelly offers FSC-certified styles (

Web Exclusive: More Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Kitchen faucet aerators add air into the water stream and conserve 30 percent more water than traditional faucets, saving approximately 570 gallons of water in a year.

Use more natural light to cut down on energy use. Install windows where there would normally be a backsplash to bathe counters in sunlight. Skylights bring in light and can also double as a vent.

Paperstone countertops are made with post-consumer waste, recycled paper and petroleum-free resins. Versions come in 50 percent and 100 percent recycled materials (from $40 per square foot;

Bamboo countertops like Ecotop are a blend of bamboo fiber and recycled wood salvaged from deomolition sites. The material comes in six colors and custom shades (

Tweak the thermostat by three degrees—down in winter, up in summer—to prevent the emission of more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year and to cut energy bills by more than 10 percent (

Plus: More Green Ideas for Home Design »

Eco Checklist:
15 Easy Ways to Live Better

Published August 2008


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