The Upside to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
There are many benefits to having an eco-friendly kitchen. It saves you money and it protects the environment. With advances in technology, modern water saving kitchen features help conserve our drinkable water. Energy saving kitchen features also save you money on your electricity bill.
If you’re remodeling your current home or building a new home, consider equipping your kitchen with environmentally-friendly features. After an up-front investment, an eco-friendly kitchen is a win-win.
What Constitutes “Eco-Friendly”?
“Eco-friendly” and “going green” have become buzzwords. But what are the criteria? How much does it help the environment? How much money can you expect to recoup and how much is the initial investment? Most importantly, how do I do it?
Energy Star provides ratings that certify that the products consume a low amount of energy for that product. Think of it as a blueprint for an eco-friendly kitchen.
Eco-friendly kitchen items:
When you’re thinking specifics, these parts of your kitchen remodel can be more eco-friendly.
- Building materials
How Much is the Initial Cost?
If you go 100% green, it will cost you 20 to 30 percent more than standard materials. However, you can still see money savings in your electricity bills, and make an environmental impact, by picking and choosing. Even spending 2 to 4 percent over regular materials helps.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star seal indicates that an appliance uses 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than its non-eco-friendly counterparts.
In 2013, Americans using Energy Star products saved the energy equivalent to 277 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In the process of doing good, they also saved $30 billion!
Energy Star has simulation calculators on its website that allows consumers to calculate how much they will save by buying specific products. Be an informed shopper and try it out!
Energy Star ratings are available for:
- And more!
Your kitchen needs to function to support your family and lifestyle so that you don’t feel inclined to change it because you overlooked something. Your kitchen should also be timeless so you don’t feel the need to remodel even when everything is working fine. Use things until they wear out. Do it right the first time!
Here is our list of 17 eco-friendly must-haves for your kitchen:
- Quick-wash dishwasher
- Small, freezer-on-top refrigerator
- Induction cooktop or convection oven
- Ventilation system
- Kitchen space for non-refrigerated fruits and vegetables
- Kitchen cabinets from sustainable wood
- Natural light
- Kitchen countertops from recycled materials
- Repurposed island
- Recycling space
- Water purifier
- Fluorescent and LED lights
- Cotton curtains and upholstered chairs
- Bamboo backsplash
- Cork or linoleum flooring
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Appliances
An efficient dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. First see if your dishwasher can be repaired; if not, replace it with one with an Energy Star rating.
Dishwashers using energy saving kitchen features and water saving kitchen features such as ‘energy-saving’ or ‘quick-wash’ cycles wash dishes in shorter time periods, saving water, energy, and time. Dishwashers with an air-dry option dry dishes with circulation fans. Or, better yet, let your dishes air dry! Energy Star models are 25% more energy efficient.
New models are 75% more energy efficient than 20 years ago, saving you about $100 per year. Energy Star-rated models save an additional $20-$30. Models with a top freezer use 10% to 25% less energy than those with a side-by-side configuration. Less cold air escapes.
In America, we store a lot of food in the refrigerator that will actually last longer if it was kept out. For example, ethylene gas released from fruit gets trapped inside the refrigerator, causing it to go bad prematurely.
A smaller refrigerator uses less electricity too, saving the environment and money.
Induction cooktops are fast and efficient.
These ovens use a fan that quickly brings the heat source to your food so that it cooks 25 percent faster than a conventional oven.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside our homes could be two to five times more polluted than typical outside concentrations.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Structure
What’s in the air?
Resins, typically found in composite products, often contain urea formaldehyde, a danger to your health.
No VOCs please
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that off-gas and can cause health problems, including cancer and eye, nose, and throat irritation. VOCs are found in glues, sealants, coatings, paints, and wood preservatives. Eco-friendly paints are VOC-free.
Space for non-refrigerated food
Consider what you need to store in terms of fruits, vegetables, and spices. For example, plan a dark, low-moisture place for potatoes and onions.
Select cabinets made from wood using sustainable forest management practices.
Consider Cambria quartz counters. Most of the manufacturer’s quartz is mined in North America, Cambria recycles the water used in fabrication, and scrap material is put to use as road base. Cambria uses FSC-certified paper pulp and low-emitting binders (resins holding the pulp together).
If you’re opening up walls, add insulation while you’re at it. You’ll be less chilly in winter, lower your energy bills, and the environment will thank you.
Find ways to incorporate natural light into your design. The most energy efficient of all! Skylights are an excellent way to achieve this.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Try re-purposing older items into something new for your kitchen. Pinterest offers a host of great ideas.
Use recycled or sustainable materials, manufacturing processes, and sourcing. Countertops are now made of recycled paper, recycled glass, reclaimed fly ash, and cement. You can even find countertops made from recycled paper and used plastic yogurt containers.
Recycled stone-chipped composite countertops
They look like granite.
Instead of installing a new one, refurbish a piece of existing furniture to add character to your space.
Some companies are recycling trash items to create beautiful tiles.
In-counter compost bins are located under your counter with an opening to drop scraps. 70 percent of household and yard waste can be composted instead of thrown away. Your garden will reap the rewards.
Plan a setup for recycling that’s convenient and looks attractive.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Accessories
Under-the-counter water purifier
Instead of buying bottled water, opt for a water purifier. Its carbon filter will remove heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides.
Think reclaimed. Find antique library sconces or factory and ship lights or use your imagination to reuse and make your kitchen one of a kind.
Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps
Using 50% to 90% less energy than their incandescent counterparts, a compact fluorescent bulb saves $30-$40 during its lifespan of 10,000 hours.
Light-emitting diodes reduce energy consumption and last longer than traditional bulbs.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Materials
Choose organic cotton for your dining chairs and curtains.
For countertops and wood paneling use sustainably-harvested and recycled wood.
Bamboo is ideal for cutting boards, backsplashes, and flooring.
A durable choice.
Made from bark, cork absorbs sound and is hypoallergenic and moisture resistant. Plus, it’s comfortable!
Linoleum is made from materials including linseed oil and cork. Linoleum is durable and moisture-resistant.
Contact Us Today
LJ’s has years of experience designing and installing eco-friendly kitchens. Our designers and installers provide you with everything you need for an eco-friendly kitchen you will love. Whether it’s design ideas, appliances, or materials, contact us today for all of your eco-friendly kitchen needs!