If you’re constructing a new kitchen or remodeling an old one, you may wonder what you can do to make you kitchen environmentally green. Taking into consideration what your new appliances are made from (health), how long they will last (sustainability), and how much energy they will use (efficiency) are three important considerations. Let’s take a closer look at how these three categories will affect your selections in each major area of your new kitchen:
Thanks to them being used everyday, you kitchen appliances get a lot of attention when people talk about going green and this is because you use them for storage, cleaning and cooking all the time. Here, energy efficiency is the key. Look for new appliances with the “Energy Star” logo on them, which can help you reduce energy usage in your new kitchen by 10-15%. Choose dishwashers that minimize hot water usage, ovens that preheat rapidly, and refrigerators with top-mounted freezers, rather than side-by-side or bottom-mounted ones. Remember that microwaves use less energy than stoves and ovens. Once your new appliances are installed, keep your cooking appliances performing up to par with regular Wolf service and your refrigerator/freezer set cold with routine Sub-Zero repair .
When it comes to cabinetry, think about the types of construction materials and finishes you will use. Bamboo provides a nice alternative to traditional wood cabinetry, as new crops of the grass can grow and mature within seven years. If you’re set on hardwood, choose one that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). As for the finishes, choose formaldehyde-free materials like water-based glues and adhesives to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your kitchen. VOCs are not only harmful to the environment, they’re toxic carcinogens that contaminate the air you breathe.
Floors and Countertops
Green floors are made from renewable materials like bamboo, cork, and linoleum. Be sure you are purchasing a pure form of the material, rather than an imitation of it, to ensure it is environmentally friendly. For countertops, recycled glass and concrete make good green choices. If you prefer hardwood floors and countertops, use reclaimed wood or a wood certified by the FSC.
Maximize natural light in your new kitchen with big window areas or skylights. Consider installing solar window shutters to help generate your own green energy. When it comes to artificial lighting, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are much more efficient than incandescent lights. Generating less heat and using less energy these are far better for you and the environment that the traditional offerings. While generally more expensive, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use even less energy and last even longer than CFLs, so consider installing a LED lighting system in your new kitchen if it’s within your budget.
Of course, even after your new kitchen has been built, you must continue to make a conscious effort to run a green household by recycling, using environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and reducing your energy and water consumption. Take happiness in the thought that you will have built great foundations for a green household by creating an energy efficient kitchen.