In the Design Studio: Designing Eco-Friendly Homes

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

While thinking about your upcoming remodeling project one thing to think about is sustainable design.

To create a truly green design, a space not only has to have energy-efficient appliances and planet-friendly features, it must be designed to withstand the test of time. Replacing or remodeling every few years is just as wasteful.

Let look at some items that can help save energy, save the earth yet keep you on track with your design style and needs.


Lighting/Photo by HouzzTo cut down on lighting costs, try using LED lighting. This cuts energy use by more than 50 percent.

If possible, add windows to use natural light to brighten up your kitchen and bring down your electrical bill.

Recycling stations 

There is no need to have trash and recycling sitting out in the middle of the kitchen. Base recycling cabinet/Decora Cabinets This handy recycling station (left) pulls out for easy access and stays out of sight.


Appliances approved by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) EnergyStar program use 10-to-50 percent less energy and water than standard models, which reduces energy costs.

Convection ovens, very popular in Europe, are gaining more consumers in the USA. This type of oven uses a fan to drive heat rapidly from source to food so it cooks it 25 percent faster than a conventional oven.


When sourcing new cabinets for your project, look for cabinets that are certified by KCMA under the Environmental Stewardship program. This program helps reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) typically are emitted by paints, wood preservatives and other sources. It also insures the safety of the workers and responsible recycling program in the factory.


Tile for floor and backsplashes should be both durable and fun, and that can go hand-in-hand with eco-friendly. Companies like Fireclay tile and Oceanside glass tile create handmade, sustainably produced product that contains a significant amount of postindustrial and post-consumer waste.


As noted above, keeping VOC out of your house is top priority. One of the biggest surfaces for that is the walls.

Paints like Natrua from Benjamin Moore are not only 100-percent VOC free, but are also Certified Asthma & Allergy friendly™ by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.


Use recycled wood flooring. You can find beautiful reclaimed wood that can be installed in wide or skinny planks, depending on the look you want. It is more comfortable on your feet than most kitchen flooring.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When possible, reuse what you have. Reuse cabinets. Paint cabinets. Shop at Habitat for Humanity’s Re-store. Reuse flooring (hardwood). Most hardwood floors can be sanded and re-stained to save money and extend its lifetime. Other unusual materials, such as this backsplash made out of recycled skateboards, an old dresser can be repurposed into a great vanity.

Remodeled kitchen

In our last poll, we asked “which area in your house needs the most urgent remodel?”

Results: Bathrooms came first at 40 percent with kitchens a close second at 38 percent.

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