A few smart upgrades can help the kitchen you have work better and use less energy and water while making it a safer place for you and your family. Planning a major remodel? Now's the time to think about more-efficient appliances, less-toxic paint, and other key kitchen ingredients that look great, go the distance, and help save the planet.
This product-by-product Guide by Consumer Reports' testers and environmental experts will help you do just that. It will also let you sidestep the threat of radon, lead, and more of the biggest home-remodeling hazards while choosing better products in the bargain.
The Energy Star label is one place to start when it comes to appliances. Run by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, the program requires appliances that meet its standards to be 20 percent more efficient than others. That can amount to significant savings over the years. But like the yellow government Energy Guide that estimates a year's energy use, Energy Star covers only energy, not performance. What's more, Consumer Reports' energy tests have found that some appliances use far more energy than their labels claim. Our Ratings show which models work best and use less energy in the bargain.