Looking out at the lake or walking through a park, we all think it…nature is beautiful.
Not only does the world provide us with these wonderful experiences, but it inspires many of our designs and attitudes at home. For example, since we were young, we’ve been taught to reduce-reuse-recycle. Why not take that mindset even further in the kitchen? Today, it’s easier than you realize.
The shift to green living has been amazing for our planet’s and our own health. We can even save money by using less energy. Still, the task may seem daunting with fears of high-priced products and the never-ending search to find them. Thanks to a recent trend of environmentally friendly products, however, going green is easier than ever!
We’re not suggesting that everyone build a compost pile and live the zero-waste lifestyle, but we are asking you to consider a greener kitchen. Technologies have emerged that incorporate a fresher lifestyle with no extra effort on your part. Read on to learn just how easy it is for a greener, cleaner, environmentally friendlier kitchen remodel!
Start your redesign with the most minute details: non-toxic finishes and materials. Hidden dangers can be present anywhere and everywhere in your kitchen, so start by doing a little homework with your designer on the green (and healthy) materials available to you.
Why are these materials a green problem? Many common products, like plywood used in cabinet construction, contain a type of formaldehyde. And as a carcinogen, it’s not good for you or for the planet. To avoid doing any damage, you can opt for custom-built solid wood cabinets or recycled wood, or shop around for other alternative materials.
Your countertops could be made out of harmful materials as well because of the seals applied to their base materials. There are options to purchase durable countertops from recycled paper, recycled tile, or CaesarStone (an engineered quartz composite). Concrete and wood are other safe and trendy materials that have been making a comeback in kitchen remodels.
Shifting the focus to finishes, be sure to look for natural, shellac, or water-based options. Natural finishes are created from beeswax or plant-based materials, while shellac comes from insects. Try to avoid VOCs (harmful chemicals that release vapors even after the material has dried). Although it’s hard to completely rid certain materials of VOCs, there are products that emit only a miniscule amount. Low or non-VOC paints are also more durable on your walls and provide easier clean-up.
When it comes to lighting, of course the best option is sunlight! Natural light works wonders to brighten up the kitchen without having to switch on any electric. When considering a green kitchen remodel, consult the experts. Determine where you can get the most natural light, then fill your kitchen with windows! Double-hung windows are the energy-saver favorites. Ensure that your eco-friendly windows are installed by professionals to guarantee optimal performance. The end results are amazing views of your yard and community while saving money on your energy bills.
Sadly, it can’t be sunny and bright all day. When you do need to turn on the electric, utilize LED bulbs. LED lights are the most energy-efficient when compared to CFL or incandescent bulbs—almost 25 times as efficient, to be exact!
Dimmers are another great option that allows you to control the amount of light you’d like. Again, this is just another money and planet-saving, eco-friendly switch that technology has made a breeze!
Time to upgrade your appliances! Maybe you were even looking for that final reason. Although many energy-saving appliances can be slightly pricier, they’ll save you money in energy bills in the long run and last longer. How can you make sure that your new purchase is more efficient than the competition? Check for the EnergyStar label.
Energy-efficient dishwashers, like these from GE Appliances, come in a large array of designs and colors to seamlessly integrate with any kitchen look. Upgrading your dishwasher will also use about one third of the water that year-2000 models use. According to EnergyStar, that new dishwasher will save almost 4,000 gallons of water over its lifetime (that’s about 20 hot tubs full). They’re able to adjust their wash cycle depending on how dirty its contents are and use more efficient jets. Did you know that you actually use less water using a dishwasher compared to washing by hand? Yes, really: you could use up to 27 gallons per load of dishes when hand-washing versus three gallons using an EnergyStar appliance.
New technology is constantly coming out, including improving how your refrigerator runs or how your microwave works, always integrating new functions to keep up with your lifestyle. Samsung’s line of energy-efficient refrigerators takes the cake for environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy. They come in a huge range of designs, including everything from side-by-side refrigerators to four-door Flex Refrigerators and freezers with touch screen hubs. Connect to your other devices, including Alexa, then have the fridge take photos of the contents so you’ll never over-buy again! Talk about saving the world.
Another appliance that could give you an energy upgrade is your oven. While on the hunt, look for more efficient gas ovens over electric. Self-cleaning options are another energy saver. Gas ovens are both energy-efficient and reduce cook time. And self-cleaning ovens offer more energy-efficient insulation that keep the heat where it’s meant to be.
While not technically an appliance, consider adding in a designated recycling area to your kitchen, too. No matter how large or small, it will make you think more about recycling common products while taking some of the hassle out of the process. It’s easier than you think—you just need three color-coded bins and a spot to put them!
There are infinite ways to do an eco-friendly green remodel of your kitchen while staying on-trend and in-budget. You can even rearrange the room to highlight the best part of nature by opening your kitchen space to your backyard! Gorgeous French doors create a stunning doorway to your deck or patio, allowing you to really connect with the planet that you’re working so hard to save.
If you’re in need of some planning assistance, give us a call at Capozzi! We would love to help you obtain your eco-friendly kitchen dreams.