Did your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015 include doing something positive for the environment? You can fulfill that resolution, while also enhancing the style of your home and saving yourself money, by making your home more energy efficient. If you are contemplating a kitchen renovation this year, there are many ways you can incorporate eco-friendly elements into your new kitchen.
Pick the Right Materials: from bamboo to recycled paper and glass, reclaimed wood, and locally sourced concrete, there is a vast range of environmentally-friendly materials available for almost every component of your kitchen. Not only are these sometimes unusual materials more sustainable solutions for the environment, they are also durable and beautiful additions to your kitchen remodeling project.
Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource and can be used for almost any area of your kitchen, including cutting boards, backsplash, flooring, and countertop. It can also be an excellent choice for your cabinetry, as pictured at right in these two-tone bamboo kitchen cabinets.
Countertops cover a large surface area in your kitchen, and there are a wide range of sustainable materials available that are both long-lasting and stylish. These unique materials, including recycled paper or glass, resin, stainless steel, and salvaged wood, are becoming ever more popular, and often add both color and texture to your design. Caeserstone countertops, like the one pictured below, are another more environmentally friendly option. The non-porous material also makes them easier to clean and requires fewer detergents, which means they are more eco-friendly and also a healthier option for your family.
Long-Lasting Lighting Options: a multi-layered lighting design is essential to ensure you not only have stylish light fixtures, but also sufficient task lighting for all the requirements of your busy kitchen. LED lights are an excellent choice for your kitchen design as they are longer lasting and use less energy. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option and also reduces your household costs by lowering electricity bills.
Energy-Efficient Appliances: there are a number of factors to consider when selecting appliances to ensure you get the best choice that will minimize your energy usage. Energy Star ratings can be useful to compare your options, but simple choices like buying the correct size appliance to meet your needs will also help ensure you have the most efficient model. For example, if you buy a refrigerator that is too small for your requirements and fill it too full it will not run efficiently, but likewise a refrigerator that is too big will use more energy than you require. Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers use about 20% more energy than other models, and those with built-in ice and water dispensers also increase your electricity requirements. Carefully consider what you really need when selecting appliances and then choose only the model that you require with the best energy rating possible.
Set up a Recycling Station: a kitchen design can be customized to include almost any feature required to meet your household’s needs. Beverage bars, customized wine refrigerators, and pet feeding stations are all just as likely to feature in today’s kitchen as a refrigerator or oven. So if designing your home to be more environmentally friendly is on your list of priorities, a specialized recycling station can be an ideal way to simplify your efforts to reduce waste and recycle where possible in your home.
Designing an eco-friendly kitchen can be accomplished in many ways, by making environmentally friendly choices when selecting your kitchen materials, appliances, and more. Visit our kitchen design gallery here for more ideas, or contact us for more information.