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Countertops and Sinks: Smart, Affordable Upgrades That Remake Your Kitchen Kitchen remodel - two words Page 12 September 16 2011


that when strung together often evoke images of a gutted room, endless dust, a major investment, not to mention overdosing on takeout while the cooking space is out of commission. Such experi- ences may be a part of a major kitchen renovation, but smart updates can create a big im- pact with less money, time, and drama. Just one or two significant changes paired with smaller enhancements can give your space a fresh look.


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countertop and sink Have your dingy countertops and sink seen better days? This is an easy fix for the time- and budget-conscious. Modern countertop options abound, from timeless granite to the industrial allure of stainless steel, and durable standbys of cement or quartz. Once you’ve committed to counter- top replacement, shop around for a new sink. Some countertop merchants may offer you a new sink with your purchase. While freebies are appealing, ask yourself if the sink given gratis matches the vision for your space. Your sink should be in sync with your lifestyle, so keep the following points in mind:


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as swapping incandescent light bulbs to com- pact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or unplugging the computer when it is not in use. However, a home built for energy efficiency can have an even more significant impact on your family’s energy use. Taking a look at your home from top to bottom


and wall to wall can uncover ways to maximize energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Depart- ment of Energy, 40 percent of global energy


The depth, shape and number of


bowls should depend on how you work in your kitchen. If you hand wash bulky pots and pans, opt for the popu- lar single-basin sink with deep dimen- sions. Multi-taskers will appreciate multiple bowls. Some newer styles offer three bowls - two standard-sized basins and a smaller third one to accommodate a disposal. Utilitarian as the sink may be, its design is a big con- tributor to the kitchen’s aesthetic, so weigh this factor carefully. Apron-front sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks, can evoke a period-style look with their panel design. Until recently, installation required removing the countertop and building custom cabinetry below to accommodate the new sink’s dimensions. The KOHLER Whitehaven self-trimming apron-front kitchen sink makes installation much easier. It’s available in two apron sizes: A conventional 9-inch apron model (requiring a custom


base cabinet), and a 7-inch apron, an ideal retrofit option for homeowners wanting the farmhouse look and the roomy 9-inch-deep basin without the cabinetry replace- ment.


Made of durable Kohler Enameled Cast Iron, the sink


is available in 16 colors, including much-loved neutrals and bold designer hues. Visit www.kohler.com to learn more.


When it comes to updating your kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation, toss out the old adage of doing “everything but the kitchen sink.” Start with the sink and countertops, and you’ll achieve a whole new look for an affordable cost.


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consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions come from the world’s homes and buildings. Although energy efficient upgrades and home renovations can seem more costly upfront, the investment can help save money and energy in the long term.


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Reduce air infiltration Between framing and routing for wiring and plumbing, hundreds of seams, gaps, and holes exist in a typical home, which let air in and out. Forty percent of a home’s energy is lost due to this air infiltration, according to the Department of Energy. In fact, these gaps in an average-size home could fill nearly 200,000 basketballs with air every 24 hours. A cost-effective way to address the issue is with proper air sealing and insulation. For example, Owens Corning EnergyComplete Air Sealing System seals the gaps in the home’s exterior walls before installing fiberglass insulation for thermal protection. The system can reduce air infiltration by up to 70 percent in new homes and can lead to a savings of up to 33 percent in heating and cool- ing bills for some homeowners.


When considering home insulation, also look for solutions that keep the environment in mind. “Every pound of glass fiber thermal insulation saves 12 times more energy each year than was originally used to produce it,” says Frank O’Brien- Bernini, chief sustainability officer for Owens Corning. “In fact, our new EcoTouch insulation uses a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled content and 50 percent total recycled


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Revisit the roof Re-roof your home with ENERGY STAR-rated shingles that use granule technology to reflect the sun’s rays and help keep roofs cooler, resulting in more comfortable and energy- efficient living spaces. In some areas, these shingles may also qualify for tax credits. Owens Corning Duration Cool Shingles help save energy without sacrificing beauty. Additionally, a roofing system that includes proper ventila- tion helps keep moisture and hot air away from the living space.


Eight out of 10 homes in the United States have asphalt


shingle roofs, resulting in millions of tons of potential waste that could end up in landfills each year as homes are re-roofed. Recycling a home’s old shingles is equivalent to recycling a year’s worth of household waste. Visit Owens Corning Roofing & Asphalt’s shingle recycling program to learn how to choose a contractor that will recycle your roof.


Close the window to air leakage Eliminating drafts can save 5 to 30 percent of a home’s annual energy costs, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Window frames are a common culprit for air seepage. Con- sider installing new, energy-efficient windows or sealing existing windows to address this issue. Strong and durable fiberglass composite win-


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repair or replacement.


A complete solution from the floor to the roof Whether you are making minor changes or un- dertaking major renovations at home, enhancing your home with sustainable methods will not only contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of your family and community, but deliver long term savings.


“Homeowners should realize that they can enhance their home’s function and style, while simultaneously saving money and the planet,” O’Brien-Bernini says. “We share a common desire with our customers to provide sustainable, innova- tive and quality solutions that improve homeown- er’s lives and our environment.” Check out Newsweek magazine’s annual Green Rankings for a list of companies committed to sustainability through the products they provide, as well as through their operations.


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