Kitchen remodels are among the most common and most popular renovations that people do in their homes. Many people choose to upgrade their kitchens just prior to selling their homes in order to be able to increase their asking price. People who plan on staying in their homes for a long time often remodel their kitchens simply to enjoy the new space.
There are a number of ways that you can make sure your kitchen remodel project is as green as possible. Energy efficient appliances, most significantly your refrigerator, are of course a great way to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. But did you also know that other aspects of a kitchen remodel, even your choice in countertop material, can be eco-friendly as well? Among the various remodeling options out there for new kitchen countertops, let’s examine which are the most eco-friendly.
Granite may be considered the ultimate in luxury, but it’s far from being green. Extracting the granite is a very resource intensive process, and once the granite becomes a kitchen countertop, it can’t be reused or repurposed. In fact, countertops made from reclaimed or recycled materials are among the most popular eco-friendly options.
Recycled Quartz: This innovative recycled range of quartz slabs incorporate 17-42% first quality reclaimed quartz from the fabrication process (post-production recycled) and post-consumer recycled glass and mirrors. The high recycled content of this eco-friendly product range reduces the demand for primal raw materials, protecting the planet's precious resources.
Recycled Aluminum: Aluminum countertops have become rather popular, but to be considered a green option they should incorporate a substantial percentage of recycled aluminum material. Look for a recycled amount above at least 50%.
Sustainable Wood: There are several different types of sustainable wood countertop alternatives to choose from. The first is wood that has been reclaimed or recycled from other projects. The other is wood that comes from trees which were sustainably grown in a way that does not have a negative effect on the environment. Bamboo countertops can be a great (and great looking) option within this category.
Recycled Paper: This might sound like an odd countertop material, but recycled paper can actually make for a very eco-friendly option. The surface is made of recycled paper mixed with a formaldehyde-free resin that is made from non-petroleum-based products. Thicknesses vary (up to 2 inches thick for those who prefer substantial-looking countertops), and the prices are usually very reasonable compared to other materials.
Recycled Glass: Recycled glass countertops are among the most distinctive and striking looking eco-friendly options. They are made from pieces of recycled glass, mixed together with cement and ash. The resulting surface is smooth, of course, but you can see the glass pieces embedded in the countertop. There are many different color and style options available for this material.
Concrete: Not all concrete countertops are environmentally friendly. Look for concrete countertops that specify a recycled aggregate. If it doesn’t incorporate recycled aggregate, look elsewhere if eco-friendly considerations are at the top of your list.
Finally, regardless of which countertop option you choose, familiarize yourself with the requirements for finishing and/or sealing the countertop. If the countertop is made of a material that must be periodically resealed (like concrete), make sure that there are environmentally friendly sealants available for you to use.