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With each passing day, more people are becoming aware of the fact that we need to try reversing the damage we’ve done to our planet, or at least stop the ecological balance from tipping against us any further. Eco-friendly living is now the need of the hour. So if you’re about to start a home renovation project, consider these top four sustainable kitchen design ideas for a green home.
1. Plan Green
Choose a contractor who knows how to build sustainable spaces. Your contractor ought to be able to guide you with eco-friendly building practices, knowledge of sustainable materials for you to choose from as well as how to procure them.
One of the most important aspects of sustainable kitchen design is to build a kitchen that will not need work for a while. This means long term planning. Build yourself a timeless kitchen that will last you a couple of decades, reducing your carbon footprint. This goes for the kind of stoves and ovens you buy as well. Remember, the most environmentally friendly stove you can buy is one which does not need to be replaced for at least a decade.
Get houseplants in clay pots. Not only are they ornamentally beautiful, but houseplants also help to fight volatile organic compounds such as mercury and keep the air in your home cleaner. You could even start your own mini indoor herb garden in your kitchen as the first step towards true sustainability.
Avoid using toxic resin-like urea-formaldehyde as adhesives during construction.
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2. Reface, Recycle and Upcycle
See if you can retain or reinforce parts of your kitchen. The more you retain or reuse, the less new material you need to invest in. For example, if you aren’t changing the layout of your kitchen, consider refacing and reinforcing your kitchen cabinets. Not only is this going to be much cheaper than new kitchen cabinets, but you’re also not going to be unnecessarily using resources.
You could also buy pre-loved, upcycled wooden tables, doors, countertops, cabinets, bar counters, and other kitchen furniture from one of many companies that specialize in repurposed wood. Not only is this extremely chic and trendy, but you’re also actually going to help the environment since another tree is not going to cut to make those things for you.
Read more: One wall kitchen layout: Great tips from an expert architect
3. Choose Environmentally Friendly Options
Try to use environmentally friendly materials in as many aspects of your kitchen renovation as possible.
For example, countertops and kitchen islands made of quartz or Corian are a much more eco-conscious choice than granite. This is because of the negative impact of mining granite, which is not a renewable resource, on our ecology. Both Corian and quartz are also extremely durable, require very little maintenance, and do not need toxic sealants to install. These make them worthy investments in the long run.
Cork flooring is a great eco-friendly choice for your kitchen floor, since cork trees regenerate every nine years. This makes cork a lot more eco friendly than wood or linoleum as a flooring choice.
Repurposed wall tiles with a low VOC grout is a great idea for your kitchen walls.
Choose cutting boards made of hardwoods like maple over plastic boards. Not only are these made from renewable resources, they also have antibacterial properties. Use wooden bowls instead of plastic ones.
Glass mason jars make for much more eco-friendly storage containers than plastic ones do since they do not have any harmful chemicals in them like Bisphenol A. Glass is also entirely recyclable.
Washable tea towels and dishcloths are a lot more eco friendly than single-use ones.
Even while choosing utensils, remember that Teflon has been shown to release toxic and carcinogenic gases and particles. You’re better off choosing stainless steel or cast iron cookware.
4. Be Energy Efficient
Energy efficiency is an important part of every eco-friendly kitchen.
Make sure your appliances, lighting fixtures, and HVAC systems all have the Energy Star symbol on them. Those certified this way are more energy-efficient than the current EPA guidelines specify.
Similarly, all your kitchen plumbing ought to have WaterSense labels. Make sure you choose low flow faucets with a flow rate of not more than 2.2 gallons per minute for your kitchen sinks, as well as an eco-friendly water heating solution.
Use touch-free faucets wherever possible. The automatic shut off function leads to less wastage of water.
Choose LED bulbs over incandescent ones. They last a lot longer and are up to 90% more energy efficient.
But just buying energy-efficient appliances and fittings doesn’t lead to energy savings. Using them the right way is equally important.
For example, a full fridge is more energy-efficient than a half-full one.
Similarly, running full loads on your dishwasher without pre-rinsing saves both energy and water.
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Conserve for the Future
A Native American proverb rightly says, ”We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
If we intend for future generations to enjoy the bounties of nature like we do now, we ought to learn to practice sustainable living. Conservation of natural resources and reducing our carbon footprint is of the utmost importance. In fact, green living ought to influence every part of our life, be it designing a kitchen, choosing a mode of transportation or the quality and source of products we consume. We hope these four tips we’ve outlined for you help with making some of those choices and leading a greener, happier, and more fulfilling life.