After baking nearly 200 loaves of bread per year, my client was finally ready to retire her 30-year-old range and remodel the kitchen where she spent so much time. Her design goals were modest: She wanted a brighter, more functional workspace with a pantry, a baking station, and an eat-in area — all within the existing footprint and with views to the backyard. And the remodel had to be “green.”

Defining that term — green — can be complicated; here in Minnesota, we’ve been working for several years to develop statewide standards for green construction. But in a relatively straightforward project like this one, meeting a client’s green goals isn’t difficult. In our case it meant choosing appliances with at least an Energy Star rating,...

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