Quiz: Picking the Right Green Kitchen Option

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About This Quiz

What do you really know about your options for remodeling your kitchen for sustainability? Find out how much when you take our Fact or Fiction: Green Kitchen Construction Materials quiz.

Renovating your kitchen to go green will clean out your bank account.

Many cheap, quick additions or swaps, such as installing solar window shutters or adding flowers, increase your kitchen's eco-friendliness. You don't necessarily have to remodel the whole kitchen.

Glass countertops are not environmentally friendly because glass is a non-recyclable resource.

Glass is expensive, but not impossible, to recycle. Companies are surfacing that specialize in glass recycling, especially by turning crushed scraps into gorgeous, mosaic-like counters and flooring.

If the label on your paint can says it doesn't contain harmful chemicals, believe it.

The government regulates paint labels. A paint with "low-VOC" or "no-VOC" on its label contains fewer volatile organic compounds (the carcinogenic chemicals giving paint its odor) than regular paints, so it will pollute the air and your lungs less.

The government isn't doing much to encourage green building.

In fact, many local and state governments, California in particular, are developing organizations and committees to research and promote green-building techniques. These end up saving the taxpayers money, and the state conserves resources and helps reduce pollution.

Replacing kitchen light bulbs with CFL bulbs will result in immediate, noticeable savings.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs consume up to 75 percent less energy than regular light bulbs. Switching will reduce your electricity bill, and you won't have to make the swap soon again; CFLs last for about 10 years.

Recycled fibers look cheap and fake when used as cabinets or flooring.

Fibers are often made from resources similar to wood, such as cornstalks, hemp, palm trees and wheat. When combined and formed into a kitchen interface, they can look and serve as solidly as the real thing. Adding a finish of shellac, stain or veneer can improve the look, too.

Bamboo regenerates itself, thus providing a sustainable building resource.

Bamboo is indigenous to the Pacific Rim where, after harvesting, it will re-grow in its original spot and can be ready for another harvest just a few years later.

Your kitchen can't generate solar power unless you install panels in the windows, roof or lawn.

New solar window shutters allow you to install inexpensive solar-power generators simply by replacing your shutters.

Building with green construction materials pays off.

Although environmentally friendly construction materials have an average up-front cost that is more than traditional materials, they often reduce utility bill charges and pay for themselves and then some in the long run.

Replacing kitchen flooring will take about a week.

Floor replacement can take as little as a day, depending on the experience of the staff, size of the kitchen and how long they have access. Let them work the business hours while you're at the office, and they could complete the project within two or three days tops.

Adding a plant to your kitchen is considered green remodeling.

Plants are absolutely green! Add several, or grow a mini garden in the sunny parts of your kitchen. They not only improve moods, but also increase oxygen, benefit your health and reduce carbon-dioxide pollution in the air. Plus they're cheap.

Recycling glass is so expensive, some states don't do it.

Residents of Alaska and Hawaii generally don't bother to recycle glass because few services are available to them, and the cost of recycling is greater than the value reaped from what's salvaged.

Bamboo flooring and cabinets have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years.

Bamboo is one of the most durable construction materials available, often with little or no processing. Buy it once, and you won't have to again.

At least seven eco-friendly countertop construction materials exist on the market today.

Recycled aluminum, recycled glass, cork, wheatboard, bamboo, recycled porcelain and concrete are just some of the endless materials companies are transforming into gorgeous, functional countertops.

Soap is either green or not.

Biodegradable soaps are manufactured for consumers with sustainability on the brain. These soaps degrade harmlessly when they're reintroduced to the environment, eliminating pollution and concern about using gray water for outdoor irrigation.

Wall paper is greener than paint.

Old newspapers, stationeries and other eye-candy papers can line walls beautifully. Paints, on the other hand, aren't able to be recycled and most contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which pollute the air and are known to cause illness.

That abandoned barn on the farm up the road has nothing to do with your kitchen plans.

Countless companies are deconstructing abandoned wooden buildings, which would otherwise be demolished, and refurbishing their hardwood walls and floors for second lives in home remodeling.

Going green is an excuse to spend money with no real benefits.

Spending large sums of money required for a large-scale remodel can stop the hearts of people who worked hard to earn it. But the up-front costs of most eco-minded renovations will not only pay themselves and then some in the long-term, but also improve the health of those living in a sustainable home.

Unless you remodel your kitchen, it can't be green.

Reduce your kitchen's carbon footprint without major renovations by taking energy-conserving steps like refusing to let the faucet run longer than necessary, turning off lights you're not using, and not allowing the oven to preheat or stay on longer than necessary.

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