In this column, staff at the Center for EcoTechnology offer advice on easy ways for people — and businesses — to introduce green changes in their daily lives.
Q: I'm considering replacing my cabinets, but the cabinets I've seen are a bit on the expensive side. Also, I'm not really sure how to measure new ones or what I should do with my old ones. Do you have any thoughts on this one?
A: Sure! First of all, if you're looking for new cabinets, you should consider buying a previously used set to save money. There are several used building materials stores, including our very own EcoBuilding Bargains in Springfield, which offer a wide variety of donated cabinet sets at one-third to one-quarter of their retail prices.
If your old cabinets are in good shape, consider donating them to EcoBuilding Bargains. It's the best way to give the cabinets you love a second life. You can deduct the value of the donated cabinets from your taxes with the itemized receipt you'll receive, and our free pick-up service makes it super-convenient to keep your cabinets out of a landfill.
When it comes to measuring cabinets, there are several things to consider. Having a good sense of your floor plan, windows and doors, appliances and plumbing/electrical will help you decide what kind of cabinets you can put in the available space.
Floor plan: See how much space you're working with. Measure from corner to corner to determine the length and width of the kitchen. Also note the ceiling height.
Windows and doors: Measure from the edge of the walls to the casing (or the trim) of any windows. Then determine the length of the window by measuring the casing edge to casing edge, then the other end of the window casing to the next wall's edge. Also determine the height of the window unit and how high it is positioned off the ground. (Many people like to place the sink area by a window, so keep this in mind for when planning your cabinet layout.)
Repeat the same process for doors. It is not necessary to mark the height since no cabinets will be placed in this space.
Appliances: Measure the width, height and location of every appliance that will not be moved. The cabinets will have to be placed around these items and, therefore, an accurate recording is important.
Plumbing and electrical units: Identify and note existing center lines on all walls including heating/air vents, light switches, range hook-ups, electrical outlets etc. It is best to plan around these fixtures since they are extremely costly to move.
Now that you know how much space you have to work with, you are truly prepared to go shopping for cabinets. Good luck with your renovations.
Look for this column every two weeks, and send Go Green questions to GoGreen@cetonline.org.