For the past year or so, I’ve helped F&W cover the world of kitchen design, and I’m often asked for advice on how to make a new renovation greener. In honor of Earth Day, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:

* Appliances, especially fridges, can be huge energy sucks, and newer versions use so much less energy than they did even a few years ago. Probably one of the greenest choices you can make is to buy Energy Star–labeled appliances, which use 10–50% less energy and water than standard models.

- See what you can salvage from your old kitchen. Maybe putting in a new floor and a few new appliances is enough to refresh the space, and you can keep your old cabinetry. Or find ways to repurpose creatively, like using a leaky back door to the house as the door to a new pantry or closet.

- Install the most durable materials possible, so they won’t need to be replaced for a long time. Although stainless steel and Corian don’t have the same glamour as new eco-friendly materials, they’re easy to maintain and last for years.

- Look for cabinetry held together by nontoxic glues and made from sustainably harvested woods or recycled materials. Check out the News & Notes section of our June issue (out very soon!) for some great eco-friendly cabinet suggestions.

- When possible, buy locally made furniture and materials to conserve the fossil fuels that would be used to transport them.

- Install segmented containers, including one for compost if you can, to help make recycling easier.

Happy Earth Day!

Next up, look for posts about new eco-friendly kitchen products and sources for excellent green design info.