Aesthetics and functionality are two factors everyone strives for when remodeling their kitchen. However, these days, one more factor has come into focus – the impact of our daily life on the environment. More and more people are now trying to figure out how to become “greener” and reduce their carbon footprint. And for many, the first step towards an eco-friendly home is renovating their kitchen.
But creating an environmentally friendly kitchen doesn’t need to be some expensive and long-drawn project focused on compost recycling and natural linen tablecloths. In fact, there are many practical and affordable ways to make a kitchen eco-friendly and energy-efficient. Here are a few of them:
Cabinets, Counter and Flooring
The first thing to handle when you are going for a “green” kitchen design is the surfaces. Having eco-friendly design doesn’t mean it is less durable. There are a variety of “green” materials, such as quarts and ice stone, made of 100% recycled glass, and even recycled paper, which are firm enough to withstand for a lifetime. These materials are also easy to clean, which is another bonus to homeowners.
As for kitchen cabinets, many of them are made with the help of formaldehyde, which is highly toxic. Fortunately, there are number of solid-wood options free of this toxic chemical such as wheatboard. Also, there are kitchen cabinets entirely made from recycled materials. However, the most important is to choose cabinets with non-toxic finish.
When choosing the flooring, there is no need to get fancy. Linoleum is inexpensive and all natural. If you are going for tile flooring, consider installing tiles manufactured from 100% recycled glass. Usually, there is a lot of mess when installing new flooring. Make sure to get rid of the builders’ waste in the most environmentally friendly way – look for recycling centres or companies which collect your rubbish and dispose of it sustainably. They will collect the waste and dispose of it according to the local regulations.
Cooktops and Ovens
The energy efficiency rating determines how energy efficient an electric appliance is. Kitchen appliances, such as stoves and ovens, rated with A are said to be the most efficient when it comes to the amount of consumed energy. As for cooktops, electric-induction cooktops use half as much energy as standard ranges, which can save the average homeowner a great deal on their energy bills.
Sinks, Faucets and Dishwashers
Kitchen sinks come in different shapes, sizes and materials but if you want your kitchen to be eco-friendly, choose one that is made of recycled materials. Stainless steel and copper are both great choices.
Faucets equipped with an aerator save water by adding air bubbles into the flow. This way the pressure remains the same, but less water is used.
Most modern dishwashers are geared with a sensor technology that adjusts the necessary water flow during a cycle. Also, most of them greatly exceed the energy efficient standards, which makes them both energy and water efficient.
Probably, the refrigerator is the household appliance that uses the most energy. Selecting a refrigerator with A label for energy efficiency is the key to keeping an eco-friendly kitchen because these modern units sometimes use 50% less energy than the older fridges. Also, today’s fridges work based on two general technologies – the direct cool technology and the frost-free technology. The frost-free technology is eco-friendlier, because it allows the even distribution of the air inside the fridge, which leads to no formation of ice, and that means you don’t have to defrost it, and the appliance doesn’t use an excess amount of energy to work.
Following the simple tips above will help you to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly, using materials and appliances that are not much more expensive than the standard ones, but are much more beneficial to you and the environment.