The Green Guide: A Money-Saving, Stylish Green Kitchen
The Green Guide: A Money-Saving, Stylish Green Kitchen: "...As Claudia's experience shows, green homes are gaining ground in the United States: 13,224 were built in 2002 alone compared with 18,884 for the entire decade of the 1990s. The trend is attracting a broader economic spectrum of homeowners thanks to public awareness, new technologies and a growing market in environmentally sounder materials. As defined by Daniel Chiras, author of The New Ecological Home (Chelsea Green, 2004, $35), building green means minimizing the negative impact on the natural world while creating a healthy living environment. The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has developed standards that encompass a building's use of natural resources, healthy materials, recycling and more. (Currently available for commercial properties, schools and apartment buildings, LEED certification for houses is scheduled to debut in early 2006.)
Building green is equal parts science and ethics, but mostly it's just common sense, says Bob Chew, the owner of Earth-Friendly Homes and Claudia's building contractor. In 2001, when she had her construction loan in place, Claudia teamed up with Chew to design and build the house, giving special consideration to the safety and comfort of her 80-year-old mother, Claire. 'I wanted to build a house that was familiar,' Claudia says. In the end, she based the design on her childhood home, a two-story, Cape-style house built by her uncle. She kept what she loved about that house, such as the sink in a sunny corner of the kitchen, while adding a walk-in pantry, a canning station in the basement and grab bars for Claire. [...]"