A Sustainable Kitchen Remodeling

Project Description

After ten years of using the original 1955 kitchen, we had worn it out. In 2001 we renovated and enlarged it, taking in space from the adjacent carport for a breakfast area, and adding a deck. The project was simultaneously a test lab for our first effort in sustainable design.

Windows use low E, argon-filled double glazing. In an attempt to offset increased summer solar gain from the enlarged area of glass, the attic insulation throughout the whole house was increased to R-30 with blown-in recycled cellulose. New walls were insulated with batts of recycled cotton.

Existing stone floors in the breakfast area (former carport) were cleaned of old oil stains and sealed. New flooring in the kitchen is Marmoleum, a linseed and cellulose-based product.

Cabinets are manufactured by Neil Kelly Cabinets of wheat strawboard, with natural wood veneers, using 65% less wood than typical wood cabinets. Their countertops are made of FireSlate, a man-made cementitious product with the look and feel of slate.

Framing for the deck is of non-arsenic pressure treated pine. Decking and handrails are made of FSC certified Brazilian ironwood (ipe), cedar, and galvanized steel.

What we would do differently with the benefit of 12 years more experience in sustainable design?

  • Super insulate and seal the attic at the rafters using open cell spray foam and rigid board insulations to break thermal bridging, consequently making the attic a habitable space. (We did it in 2010)
  • Use triple glazed windows with fully insulated sash and frames (Underway in Fall 2014).
  • Increase the insulation levels at exterior walls.
  • Use countertops requiring less maintenance.
  • While the cabinetry is great, there are many local, more affordable sources for zero VOC cabinets today.

This project is published in Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Remodeling.

Project Details

  • Date July 27, 2014
  • Category Remodeling and Additions
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