If you are remodeling your kitchen consider modernizing with some green upgrades. Replace old appliances with new, ENERGY STAR rated ones. These appliances can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your electric bill. For example, ENERGY STAR rated refrigerators are required to use 20% less energy than comparable non-rated models (which themselves are more energy efficient than a 20 or 30 year old unit). Meanwhile, ENERGY STAR qualified freezers use 10% less energy than their non-rated counterparts. Furthermore, ENERGY STAR rated dishwashers use about 2 fewer gallons of water per cycle.
If you do not have a dishwasher, consider having one installed. There is a common misconception that washing dishes by hand saves hot water; the truth is, though, that in one year an energy-efficient dishwater uses about half as much energy and nearly 5,000 fewer gallons of water than hand washing. Just be sure to select a dishwasher that has enough capacity to prevent you from having to run multiple loads per day.
Finally, consider having a water filtration system installed in your home. Options range from small units that fit under the sink, to whole house filtration. Ask your plumbing contractor to help you select the right system for you and begin enjoying clean, pure, cold water directly from the tap, eliminating your use of wasteful bottled water.
(Flickr Photo by patrickjona)