Sustainability and eco-awareness are becoming ever-present in our lives. If the environmental impact is on your mind when planning a kitchen design, remember you don’t need to sacrifice style or substance to be eco-friendly. Bear sustainability in mind as you start planning your kitchen remodel and also throughout the process with your kitchen designer. Here are some tips for getting a green kitchen design.
The philosophy of the 3 R’s- Recycle, Reduce and Reuse is emerging as a motto in interior design. The elements of your kitchen remodel should be raw materials from verified manufacturers as well as recycled products like glass tiles or wood composite. Adding repurposed items or upcycled furniture brings character and charm as well as doing your bit for the environment.
Why not consider refacing kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them completely? The inside can still be reconfigured for custom storage, but refacing actually reinforces cabinetry, uses less wood and is cheaper. For an environmentally friendly kitchen, wood should be always be ethically sourced. Look at options such as bamboo, which is plentiful, durable and easy to maintain.
QUARTZ AND CORIAN
Quartz and Corian are produced in the US and are a more eco option than heavily mined granite. They’re also low maintenance, durable and don’t need potentially toxic sealants. Go with a factory that recycles its water and scrap material to leave even less of a carbon footprint.
True eco-friendly kitchen design steers clear of toxins. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) affect air quality as they release gas at room temperature and cause long-term health problems. Ensure your kitchen finishes are zero or low VOC. The more people who demand this, the more common it will be. Look for the ‘Greenguard’ certification on products. It’s the most reliable assurance that there are no chemicals in what you’re buying.
Energy efficiency should be a priority in our homes, so make sure you buy appliances with the ‘Energy Star’ symbol. Use long-life LED bulbs with dimmer switches and timers, where possible. Try plugging several small appliances into a power strip to make it easy to plug them out at once. Look at aerators and sensor faucets to save water. Refrigerators are massive energy users, so keep fridge doors closed as much as possible. Also, keep your refrigerator full and at a regular temperature, for maximum efficiency. Don’t run dishwasher and washing machines when they’re half empty and make sure to use liquid detergents at an eco-friendly low temperature.
INSULATE AND VENTILATE
If you feel the cold in your kitchen, it’s time to look at new windows and wall insulation. You’ll save money on heating but will also be so much more comfortable. Being environmentally friendly is also about making our immediate environment a better place to be, thereby improving our overall health. The EPA says that indoor air is twice as polluted as outdoor air, so remember to throw open windows and make sure you have as much energy efficient ventilation as possible installed.
Having to constantly replace things is not sustainable. Everything from manufacturing to transportation of goods leaves its mark on the planet. Although it might cost more initially, designing a kitchen with longevity in mind saves time and money in the long run. Consider you and your family’s needs over the next 20 years and invest in a high quality, functional kitchen remodel that you can enjoy without ebbing away at earth’s resources.
Following these steps will help you plan your eco-friendly kitchen remodel, and also save money in the long run. Green doesn’t have to be boring as the latest style trends take the environment into account. Talk to the design professionals here at Lang’s for guidance on sustainable, efficient and stylish kitchen design.