Once upon a time, the term green kitchen or sustainable bath would have seemed impossible, perhaps even laughable. With limited product offerings, designers and builders could have been as environmentally conscious as they wanted, but in the end they’d be left with little more than a standard bath or kitchen.
But times have changed. Today, the idea of a “green” bath or kitchen may still seem dubious to some builders, but it really shouldn’t be. Just like any other part of the house, these spaces can be designed using eco-conscious principles—and products.
But what, exactly, constitutes a green or eco-friendly bathroom or kitchen? Simply put, it includes rooms that use less water, ones that save energy, and spaces thoughtfully constructed with resource-efficient materials. Thankfully, building professionals who are inclined to design spaces with these characteristics can now do so because manufacturers have been working hard to make it possible.
One such example is water-conserving products. “From a manufacturer’s stand point, water-conserving fixtures have become standard particu-larly WaterSense-certified HETs [high-efficiency toilets] and low-flow faucets,” says Gerber Plumbing Fixtures in Woodridge, Ill. “The key is ensuring you have a quality product to make certain the product performs and saves water.”
The operative concept here is performance. Eco-conscious design isn’t worth much unless products actually work more efficiently. Builders and architects also would be well advised to look for products that fit with today’s design trends and most budgets.
Stratton D. Yatron, CFO and co-owner of Adelphi Kitchens & Cabinetry in Robesonia, Pa., says the focus of buyers has changed. “There is a definite shift to simpler designs,” he says. “Green is important but value is of utmost importance.”
Here are six areas where builders can improve the sustainability of their kitchens and baths. The products are sure to add value for those buyers looking to go green.