How to Design an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
Here is a general how-to on building a green kitchen
Thinking about painting your kitchen a new shade of green? Good for you! Your drive to design an eco-friendly kitchen promotes important benefits for both you and the planet. If you are like most environmentally-inclined homeowners, you probably want to save money and resources without sacrificing the style, functionality or performance of your kitchen. The good news: It’s all within reach. You just need to get smart about selecting the right materials, appliances and essentials. Our guide is here to help.
Start with sustainable kitchen cabinets.
If you have the budget for just one eco-friendly kitchen solution: invest in the cabinetry.
Green kitchen cabinetry gets confusing. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the choices. In the past, you had just one option: modern-looking bamboo boxes. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of styles and prices, like those from Wood-Mode, Brookhaven and Artizen. Most of us want the same thing: attractive kitchen cabinetry built with sustainable materials. A few options give you the best of both worlds:
- low- to zero-VOC panel products
- FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified plywood
- rapidly renewable agrifiber boards (such as wheat board, made from the shaft of the wheat stalk, an agricultural waste product)
- reclaimed wood
Keep in mind: cabinetry can be expensive. Looking for a smart, low-cost and eco-friendly alternative? Consider using your existing cabinet boxes and replacing the doors.
Green countertops you can count on.
The countertop: it’s often the signature improvement of a kitchen remodel and the first thing you notice when walking into the room. But your countertop also doubles as your food preparation surface, which bumps health and environmental impact to the top of your priority list.
It goes without saying: you want a healthy countertop made with natural ingredients. But you also want to consider the aesthetics. Loving the look of your countertop means keeping it around for longer, and a countertop with longevity is a much greener solution than one you replace multiple times.
By the same token, repairable natural materials fare better than synthetics. The top green countertop materials to consider: recycled paper, glass and plastic, quartz, wood and bamboo, linoleum, stainless steel and concrete.
Stand firm on eco-friendly flooring.
For an eco-friendly kitchen, you want to install durable and beautiful flooring to conserve natural resources and money. Two tried, tested and true options give you everything you need: linoleum and cork.
Made from natural, renewable resources, linoleum and cork are extremely durable, yet resilient, soft and comfortable to stand on. Designed as tiles or click-together systems, you can install the flooring yourself. A wide range of colors and patterns ensures you find the perfect floor to match the style of your kitchen.
For more eco-friendly options, consider wood floors made from reclaimed, engineered and salvaged wood. Concrete simplifies the floor into a single material, serving as both the finished floor and structural floor for a smart, efficient and cost-effective solution.
Terrazzo floors are another option. Extremely durable and practically indestructible, terrazzo floors combine aesthetic appeal with the high sustainability of no or low-VOC sealers and low-impact aggregates. The one minor downside: terrazzo flooring is tough to stand on for long periods of time.
Make the switch to ENERGY STAR appliances.
If you want to go green, boost your kitchen appliances to ENERGY STAR status.
From high-tech dishwashers to clean your dishes using less water and energy, to efficient refrigerators to maximize energy and dollar savings without skimping on your favorite features, to sophisticated clothes dryers equipped with moisture sensors to switch off when your clothes are dry, ENERGY STAR certified appliances help you cut down on operating costs by reducing energy use without sacrificing performance.
The bottom line: a few appliance upgrades go a long way in designing an eco-friendly kitchen.
More green essentials to consider.
Little things add up to a lot: like a modern under-the-counter water purifier, which removes fluoride, chlorine, chloramine and other contaminants — without stripping all the minerals — at an impressive 99% (or more) success rate. It’s an affordable eco-friendly option to provide clean drinking water for the whole family at a low daily cost of less than $.50.
Consider also energy-efficient lighting. Most households dedicate about 5% of their energy budget to lighting. Swapping out just your five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with energy-efficient models can save you up to $75 each year.
Last but not least: remember to recycle, reuse and repurpose items from all over the house. It’s a smart and simple way to design your kitchen with the Earth in mind.
Looking to make the eco-friendly kitchen of your dreams a reality? Reach out to NDA Kitchens today!