Green by Design

 

When George and Holly Stone decided to renovate the kitchen of their Clarksville, Maryland, home, they were very clear about what they wanted. As the owners of an eco-friendly summer camp in Maine, there was only one way to go: green.

Recognizing their need for a contractor with experience in green remodeling, they tapped Rockville-based Tabor Design Build, Inc., for the job. As Peggy Card, Tabor’s design consultant on the project, describes the couple, “These are people who have always been eco-conscious. This is part of who they are. But they also needed to make a kitchen that would suit the family.”

The Stones were looking for more space with lots of natural light. “The first step was opening the space up,” Card says. They removed a wall between the kitchen and pantry and installed a big bay window. They also enlarged an existing window bay and replaced all the kitchen windows. “All the windows are energy-efficient Pella windows,” Card says. Insulation made from recycled denim was used in the window bays and all the existing wood trim and siding were reused wherever possible. All new wood products and cabinets they purchased were approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which ensures that only non-polluting chemicals are used in their manufacture.

The cabinets offer a mix of sustainable woods: Those around the kitchen perimeter and on the island are maple, painted white with an umber glaze, while the one that divides the kitchen from the dining area is stained a dark cherry with a cherry countertop.

A composite of recycled concrete and glass material from IceStone was used on the other countertops. The backsplash is recycled iridescent glass in a colorful mosaic. The floor is slate (from a quarry that mines in a sustainable way), another energy-efficient choice that, explains Card, “is naturally passive solar. It holds heat from the sun and then releases it as the air around it cools.”

For further energy efficiency, three Nuheat mats were placed under the floor, each attached to a different programmable thermostat. So when Holly Stone, an avid cook, is in the kitchen, she can turn on the mat in the cooking area without using the other two, located in other parts of the kitchen. Another source of heat is the fireplace near the table area. “We went with a Rais fireplace, which uses intelligent combustion energy,” Card says. This means it burns wood at such a high heat that it doesn’t give off smoke or carbon emissions.

Wherever possible, the Stones opted for energy-saving appliances, including an Energy Star induction cook top by Thermador. The lighting was arranged in work zones like the floor-warming system, using LED recessed lights and low-voltage task lighting.

In recognition of its eco-friendly design, this project won a grand 2009 Contractor of the Year Award in the category of green interior remodeling. For the months they spend here, the Stones can now live as sustainably as they do during their summers in Maine. “It’s a prime example that you can be eco-friendly and still have a great kitchen,” Peggy Card says. “You don’t have to compromise.”

Greg Hadley is based in Fairfax, Virginia.

DESIGN & CONTRACTING: Peggy Card, Design Consultant, Tabor Design Build, Rockville, Maryland
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