Most Realtors agree that having one or more environment-friendly features in your home will make it more appealing to today’s buyers, and may even increase the dollar value. So if you are thinking of ways to spruce up the home before you put it on the market and would love to GO GREEN, the kitchen may be a great place for the most bang for your buck.
-To see some other tips on upgrading your kitchen for the sale of your home, see Kitchen and Bath Remodeling.
Appliances: Greening up your kitchen may involve getting those avocado colored appliances out. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting, refrigeration and cooking are responsible for 41.5 percent of a home’s energy consumption. Add dishwashers, electronics and the kitchen can be a room where energy is eaten in larger quantities than food.
Topping the list in energy consumption is the refrigerator, so when replacing this appliance look for the EPA’s Energy Star labels. To qualify, a new fridge must now use at least 20 percent less energy than federal regulations allow for a model with comparable features. Depending on how old your fridge was an Energy Star model can cut refrigeration costs in half. Some of the biggest names, such as Kohler, KitchenAid, GE, Bosch, and Kenmore, qualify and give brand recognition to your kitchen as well as provide cash rebates on your purchase.
- Countertops: These large prep-surfaces are often big on a buyer’s checklist and can make a kitchen stand out. So what are some good green choices? Man made quartz stone offers alternatives to granite counters, which are hard and resist scratching much more than granite or Corian. The quartz is combined with resins and pigment, then heated and compacted into an impermeable surface. Another product known as EnviroGlas can be best described as crushed recycled glass glinting an array of colors set into a durable and attractive smooth surface. Also made from recycled glass, Terrazzo, is a popular choice because the material has a 40 year lifespan. It is made from crushed stone and glass set in a cement or epoxy substrate and buffed smooth for a beautiful appearance.
- Fooring: For green flooring options the old reliable stone tiles, cork or bamboo are top picks in the modern kitchen. Along with being eco-friendly they are highly durable materials which will appeal to any home buyer.
- Cabinets: Besides the obvious option of refinishing old cabinets and adding knew hardware to appear new, there are some green options if the cabinets simply must go. Instead of particleboard, wheat straw panels use panels made from compressed wheat straw. The glue used in this product is a non-toxic and these panels conserve wood by using an agricultural waste product (wheat straw). Another option is particleboard without Urea Formaldehyde, which you can find in a product known as Medite™. This innovative product uses100 percent recycled wood fiber and a formaldehyde-free resin. Also on the list is a real wood veneer. Cabinet faces are often solid wood, but consider choosing a wood veneer instead. The veneer is still real wood, but is much thinner, which utilizes only a fraction of the wood in solid cabinet facing.
- Windows: Old windows can stand out to a buyer like a red flag and can be a huge source of energy loss. If you are considering replacement, invest in high-performance, low-e glass to improve energy efficiency, avoid plain wood frames in favor of wood clad with aluminum or vinyl, or consider high-quality PVC or fiberglass for longer life and lower maintenance.
The National Association of Realtors’ “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” survey found most buyers are “light green,” meaning they are interested in some green features but are not prepared to invest in a high cost energy-neutral home. So smart sellers know that a few kitchen upgrades that add green appeal to their home can attract today’s eco-conscious buyer without breaking the bank.