"This is s very typical small kitchen layout," Mary Jane Heinen said as she walked into a demo kitchen at Whole Builders Cooperative in Minneapolis.
It might be a small area, but Mary Jane's got a big batch of ways to remodel in green mode, starting from the floor up.
"We've done a lot of bamboo floors. Bamboo grows in seven years," Mary Jane said.
Bamboo's fast-growing, but Mary Jane noted it has to be shipped here. Her other suggestions? Cork. Or, buy local with True North Wood.
"It's all Minnesota grown wood. About 10 different varieties. Going with oak, maple or birch floors are all fine choices," Mary Jane continued.
Staying local, you could top the counters with something like Cambria stone. Or a product made from--believe it or not-- sunflower hulls.
"Hulls, or wheat straw or soy-based materials. So it's an all-natural product that otherwise would go to waste in agriculture fields," Mary Jane said.
Speaking of natural, Mary Jane suggests sealing the cabinets under these countertops with a water-based product.
"They're just as durable as any other finish and water-base avoids all the fumes and seals just fine," Mary Jane continued.
For earth-friendly lighting, start with the sun.
"Have at least one window, and ideally it would be located on the south, bringing in nice solar energy," Mary Jane said.
In lieu of the s-u-n, Mary Jane suggests LED task lighting.
"They are the most energy-efficient and they use the least amount of energy.
This is a six-watt LED and it replaces a 40-watt equivalent," Mary Jane said while demonstrating an LED light unit.
"It's putting the light right over the area where you're going to be working," she added.
And one more thing you'll enjoy having right where you're working? A recycling station.
"One possibility is to put recycling into a corner cabinet. You can buy the intserts that rotate in it.
It makes the rest of their home neater and cleaner," Mary Jane concluded.
Cleaner, neater and, in the end, more earth-friendly.
Mary Jane will be part of series of workshops put together by "Do It Green! Minnesota"-- an organization that's helping people learn about and then go green. The next workshop on green building is this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Find out more about Do It Green! Minnesota and the group's workshops
Read more about Mary Jane Heinen and Whole Builders Cooperative
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)