If you are in the market for a new kitchen, it’s a great time to go green. In addition to the many health and environmental benefits that can be reaped from a green kitchen, using energy and water saving designs and product will add value to your home while decreasing your monthly bills.
The kitchen is one of the easiest places in the home to go green as long as you make choices based on your lifestyle and budget. The best thing about carrying out eco-friendly upgrades in the kitchen is that, the effects of the changes can be seen almost immediately.
Here are 10 energy-efficient, eco-friendly upgrades you can incorporate to achieve a greener kitchen.
Planning To ‘Greenovate’ Your Kitchen?
Going green with your kitchen will give you good value for your money, since it is the part of the home, besides the utility room where most of your energy is expended.
For instance, your fridge is running 24 hours a day. With proper planning, your upgrades will go smoothly and help you achieve the results you need.
Plan your kitchen upgrade following the following steps:
- List out your needs – identify the problem areas present in your kitchen. Perhaps the cabinets are old and falling apart, or the lighting is bad and making cooking difficult. An irreparable leak in the sink will get water splashing everywhere and spoiling the flooring. Decide where the eco-friendly upgrades will focus on and note them down.
- Set goals – what do you want to be the highlight of your new green kitchen? You might be more concerned about creating a bigger space, better lighting, saving energy and money or making composting easier.
- Going DIY with your green kitchen project will save you more money, but some parts of the work will require a professional work. Decide what you will be able to handle and what you need to let a professional take care of. Your time, budget and skillset can be used to determine what you can take on.
- Research nearby stores that offer the products you need to meet your goals. Remember to measure your spaces so you can buy to match your kitchen perfectly.
When using a contractor, be as specific as possible with every little detail, so that your expectations have a better chance of being met. Your definition of a green kitchen might be different from that of your contractor, so take the time to explain what you want.
If your cabinets are still in sound condition, but you want a new look, a coat of low-VOC paint or simply changing the cabinet doors and hardware is an inexpensive and earth-friendly way to achieve a modern look. Recycling materials is a great option for going green with your cabinets.
You can also check whether the cabinets you want can be found in your neighbourhood store. Investigate your options by typing your city name and cabinet maker into Google. The cabinets you choose should be green inside and out; so find out if the cabinets are made with straw board or wheat board.
Save Energy with Spray Foam Insulation
If you’re wondering if spray foam insulation is eco-friendly, the answer is a resounding yes. Spray foam protects against moisture and mould growth, and it is designed to last indefinitely, producing fewer consumed materials.
In addition, spray foam contributes to lower energy consumption and creates a ‘green’ home. With spray foam, you can have a healthy, comfortable and energy-efficient kitchen. You can either buy the spray foam cans and do the spraying yourself or reach out to professionals like Ecostarfoam which is a better option since the overspray can be harmful to lungs, and expert installers will make sure the foam is cut smoothly.
Linoleum and cork floors are the two best options for upgrading to a green kitchen floor. They are sustainable choices because they are both manufactured from renewable resources. They look great and last long, even if they need periodic maintenance. With linoleum, you get a flooring that can handle the constant traffic of a well-used kitchen, cushioning for long hours spent cooking and high moisture resistance.
Linoleum is susceptible to stains therefore some manufacturers add a coating to protect against scratches and spills. Cork is both comfortable and moisture-resistant because of its waterproof and soft features. In addition, it offers a good grip with its textured, slip-resistant surface.
Go Green with Appliances
To save utility costs and lower energy consumption, choose Energy Star products. These appliances undergo thorough testing and have been rated as the most energy-efficient models you can find. When buying dishwashers, look for the ones that feature quick-wash cycle which operates for a shorter period, resulting in saving of water and energy.
Another dishwasher feature to look for is the air-dry option to dry with a circulation fan, instead of heating elements that suck up your energy. Refrigerator manufacturers are constantly improving technology and insulating techniques, so a new freezer with better energy-efficient features will save you on energy bills.
Green Kitchen Accessories
When upgrading, don’t leave out your kitchen accessories because the smallest changes can yield significant results where an eco-friendly kitchen is concerned. Some green kitchen accessories you can add to boost the overall effect of your effort include:
- Kitchen tap water purifier
This little green gem makes sure your water is clean and free of contaminants before it flows out of the tap. If you choose a model with an activated carbon filter, heavy metals, pesticides and bacteria will be removed from your water, in addition to bad odours and bad tastes.
- Recycling bins
Look out for cabinets that include pull-out recycling bins which keep contents organised and out of sight. Most cabinet makers add the option of positioning the bins under holes in countertops so that food scraps can easily be swept into them.
- Energy-saving lighting
It is advisable to be flexible with lighting when it comes to your kitchen. Task areas should be lit with the correct quantity of light such as an efficient halogen or LED lighting sources. The most energy-efficient options include fluorescent and compact fluorescent.
Upgrading to a greener kitchen holds many benefits; but be sure to do your research beforehand to ensure you make the best decision and end up with a kitchen that serves your unique purposes.