Green Rascal Design

This outline was the basis of my webinar with Ladies Going Green on Vokle yesterday, 4-17-12... and I'm sharing it here because I wanted there to be a text to go with the video. Also, I'm not sure if the audio on the video was working...
Why is it important to improve the indoor environment?
  • Indoor air can often be more polluted than outdoors with things like pollen, mold, dust, dirt and chemical scents and cleaners. Typically air changes don't eliminate these things enough.

  • The things that make up our homes emit gasses from surface finishes like paints and sealants and glues that bond materials and pieces together.

  • We typically spend most of our time indoors, and so we're constantly being exposed to these gasses and microbes.
What can you do now to green your kitchen?

Faucet aerators reduce your water usage immediately for a few dollars
  1. screw on main faucet aerator is $2
  2. spray hose reduces water usage and increases pressure which cleans faster

Water filters provide cleaner, safer drinking water at a fraction of bottled cost
  1. pitcher types are very inexpensive, however try to find a glass one as plastics offgass
  2. 10 stage filters are best, $100 for countertop model or more for under-counter mount

Drain strainers prevent clogs, and associated harsh chemical use
  1. straining the food out of the water that goes down your drain keeps drains clean
  2. that stuff that gets stuck in your drain can attract molds and pollute your air
  3. the food you strain out can be put to good use, which will be covered later

Greener cleaning products and detergents reduce household chemicals
  1. 90% of the cleaning products in your house contain formaldehyde, which causes cancer
  2. products based on natural ingredients such as tea tree oil are just as effective and cheaper
Recycled paper towels and consumables reduce deforestation rates
  1. people now use more paper towels than washable cloths for cleaning
  2. recycled paper products typically contain fewer chemicals than virgin, bleached ones

100% Organic cotton towels and soft goods are washable and safer to produce/use
  1. 25% of all insecticides are used in cotton production
  2. 400 of these pesticides were registered and begun use before being tested to see if they caused cancer or birth defects, etc. It takes 10 years to ban one of these pesticides in the US

Herb pots save money on foods and provide tastier and more nutritious herbs
  1. indoor plants have shown to increase air quality
  2. home-grown herbs cost almost nothing compared to grocery store prices, especially organic
  3. home-grown plants in general contain more nutrients than those grown in depleted soil on commercial farms

Countertop compost pails and bins outside reduce food going to landfills, AND feed your (or your neighbor's) garden
  1. countertop pails are available at places such as Williams Sonoma and Bed Bath and Beyond
  2. they have lids and carbon filters to eliminate food waste smell
  3. biodegradable bags are available and can break down in a compost bin pretty quickly
  4. compost bins are easy to find or build, and come in a variety of styles
    1. build a bin out of old pallets or other non-treated waste wood
    2. must be 3' by 3' can be open on the bottom and can have a lid or not
    3. place in a convenient spot in your back yard where you can access it and it won't affect the neighbors, strategize if you garden because the nutrients leaving the bin can help
    4. other bin types include simple piles or fences and should be chosen carefully based on your neighborhood
    5. commercially available bins can be $50 to $100, however the plastic ones are not advised. Find a metal tumbler one for fastest results.
What can you do soon to green your kitchen?

Scissors and knives
  1. when your next tool bites the dust, consider getting all metal or the highest quality you can
  2. these last longer and you will end up spending less in the long-run

Measuring cups and spoons
  1. get glass and stainless that will last longer
  2. are easier to wash
  3. and don't contaminate your food with paints and plastics

Pots and pans
  1. get cast iron, copper or stainless pots and pans that will last longer
  2. won't contaminate your food with harmful non-stick chemicals such as teflon

New Dishwashers use less water and energy to run, are quieter and clean better too

New Refrigerators use less energy and keep food fresher longer with new technologies

New Stoves, ovens and microwaves use less energy
What can you do someday to green your kitchen?

Re-Paint your walls with Zero VOC paint for a fresh look without air pollution

  1. high-quality renewable flooring such as ceramic tile, bamboo or cork
  2. use a non-toxic sealer to keep it nice for the life of your home

  1. good condition cabinets can be re-surfaced, I'm not sure about the VOCs associated with it
  2. high-quality modular cabinets can be a good investment. Doing nothing is always the greenest option, however if you have to replace your casework there are a few things to keep in mind:
            you won't find solid wood cabinetry because solid wood warps in moist
            kitchen areas

            all commercially available cabinetry has a composite core such as MDF or             medium density fiberboard, which I believe is generally safe and stable

            focus on the laminate – they are usually wood, so get a local wood. Find             out what wood is locally available and native to your area. All areas are                 different in this respect. Bamboo is always a good option because it                     grows incredibly fast and is highly renewable.

            Glass or tin inserts are nice looking and generally VOC free

            look for FSC wood – whenever you're building with wood, get Forest                     Stewardship Council certified wood. They monitor growing and harvesting             practices to protect the environment.

Countertops – there are many green options such as recycled glass for a traditional look and pre-cast concrete for a modern look
  1. Ceramic cement ~$85-125 /sq ft Countertop mix uses 70% recycled content. 50% of that is glass sand, and 20% is recycled fly-ash. Very sustainable.
  2. Bio-Glass ~$50 /sq ft 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, Cradle to Cradle Silver certified and available in 6 natural colors. 
  3. Concrete ~$? You can do DIY concrete countertops, though I haven't tried it yet.
  4. Marble or granite ~$100 /sq ft Granite produces a tiny amount of radiation and I wouldn't buy it. Also, these have to be quarried (usually far away) and the embodied energy in them is very high, making marble or granite actually very unsustainable. 
  5. Recycled Marble chips ~$20 /sq ft This is a much better option if you must have natural stone. Most affordable option.
  6. Recycled glass + cement ~$50-60 /sq ft This is a modern look that is also durable.
  7. Recycled glass + epoxy ~$50 /sq ft EnviroSLAB does not require periodic chemical sealing, which other materials do require.
  8. Recycled metal ~$70-80 /sq ft Looks kinda like granite.
  9. Recycled paper + concrete ~$40-75 /sq ft Looks like concrete, but is lighter.
  10. Recycled paper + resin ~$35 /sq ft This looks cool and is very sustainable, but can't really take a beating.


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