Kitchens are almost always the most popular room for homeowners to remodel, and these days one of the focal points is making the room more efficient. Families tend to spend more time in the kitchen than any other room, so getting it right is even more important than most other renovation jobs. To that end, contractors need to ensure they are communicating with clients about every step of a green kitchen remodel.
Certainly, that starts with planning the job and finding materials that are more eco-friendly, from sourcing wood and tile for cabinets, countertops, or flooring to finding the right paints and sealants that eschew harmful chemicals, according to Hello Glow. Much of the job will be dictated by the client's budget, of course, but the more willing they are to go through a full tear-down, the more likely they may be to get the most out of a green remodel.
At the same time, though, it's important for contractors to highlight to their eco-conscious clients how they will dispose of the old materials they're throwing out, the report said. This may help them feel even better about the project. Some of what you pull out of the kitchen during the demolition stage can be recycled, and other materials can be donated. Having a plan in place for what you'll do with it could help impress clients who are already concerned with their ecological footprint.
A newly renovated kitchen can bring lots more energy efficiency to a home.
What to suggest
One thing that helps contractors stand out to their clients is the ability to recommend a litany of environmentally friendly rehab materials, such as recycled glass countertops, tile, linoleum, wood and so on, according to Snapgoods. Combining that with relatively simple plans that help get a renovation completed more quickly can go a long way toward ensuring the project is straightforward so few issues arise throughout the process. In addition, the more contractors can do to source materials locally, the smaller the environmental impact.
Part of those plans should also include changes that make the space more efficient, the report said. Even if people aren't going to invest thousands of dollars in new, Energy Star-rated appliances, there may still be plenty that contractors can do to make those units more efficient. For instance, some homes have the stove right next to the refrigerator; that's a big mistake. After all, when a stove heats up, that requires the fridge next to it to work harder to maintain its temperature, increasing energy use significantly. In this way, simply moving old appliances can make them more efficient.
In addition to the big alterations that come with a green kitchen remodel, smaller touches will likely also go a long way, such as installing a low-flow sink faucet, which can cut water usage by 60% in many cases, according to HomeSelfe. Along similar lines, it might help to recommend switches that shut off power to appliances when they're not in use, to reduce the "power vampire" role many kitchen appliances - from microwaves to coffee makers - consume when they're plugged in but not in use.
Furthermore, contractors can recommend changes to homeowner behaviors that also help them save money, such as using glass and ceramic dishes instead of other cookware, the report said. These materials conduct heat better and allow users to cut temperature recommendations in recipes by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people also leave their oven doors open after they're done cooking to let the heat out, but doing so in the summer is not a good idea since it requires air conditioners to work harder. Thus, contractors might be wise to add or upgrade an exhaust fan.
An extra recommendation
Finally, for kitchens that do not yet have a dishwasher, it's vital for renovators to recommend one, according to Monogram. A new, Energy Star-rated dishwasher will use far less power than most people expect, and also save a lot of water in comparison with hand-washing dishes, making it a great investment that also saves people plenty of time.
When it comes to any remodel, contractors should always be prepared to collaborate with clients at every step of the process so they know they're completing the project in the most efficient and desirable way possible. That extra attention to detail could help improve the working relationship and lead to repeat and referral business.