Is a Green Kitchen Your Recession Dream?

Mary Butler

The recession hasn't been terribly positive for the home improvement industry. However, one area of home improvement remains a bright spot--the kitchen. As consumers pinch their pennies and dine out less often, they are spending more time in their kitchens. A recent survey of remodeling trends indicates that--even in a bad economy--remodelers are still looking to upgrade their homes.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence--a membership-based organization that studies kitchen-related trends, products and services--recently released the findings of a new nationwide study done in partnership with SmartSampling. One of the most telling results of the 1,510-respondent survey was that 80 percent of people would like to change their kitchens.

Home Improvement By the Numbers

The RICKI survey found only 20 percent of those surveyed were "completely happy" with their kitchens and 19 percent would like to "completely redo" their kitchens. For 13 percent of those surveyed, spending plans for 2009 include a home improvement project (other than a kitchen or bath remodel) costing $1,000 or more. Four percent said they planned to remodel a kitchen, 6 percent planned to remodel a bathroom, and 1 percent said they budgeted to add an outdoor kitchen.

"[T]here are signs that there is pent-up demand out there, " notes RICKI's Executive Director Brenda Bryan, " and that once the recession ends, some people will be more than ready to spend on certain big-ticket items."

Green remodelers take note.

Green Remodeling in the Kitchen

If you identify with the 80 percent of RICKI survey respondents and want to update your kitchen, here are some popular eco-remodeling trends you may want to consider:

  • Choose energy efficient appliances
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Reface instead of installing new cabinets
  • Choose healthy flooring materials, such as recycled cork
  • Used recycled materials for your new countertops

Other remodeling ideas include using low-VOC paints, an induction cooktop, upgraded wall insulation, adding a kitchen recycling center, and using Energy Star windows. Because the U.S. Department of Energy estimates the kitchen is a central culprit for a house's energy use, remodeling in an eco-friendly manner can save you money in the long run.


About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.

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