Sustainable Kitchen Design
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, New York Vacation Rentals.
Kitchen design and re-design tends to be the most costly, especially in a larger home. But investing with the environment in mind will certainly save you money and headache in the long run, all while reducing your carbon footprint. Here are some simple tips for creating a greener kitchen.
One of the most earth friendly favors we can do is save water. The easiest way to manufacture a kitchen with this in mind is to install a low-flow facet(s). Ultimately, this will prevent the unwanted waste of clean water while putting a few extra bucks in your pocket every month.
Many of these low-flow faucets actually come built with a sensor that automatically shuts off running water while you’re away from the sink. You’ll also find that many commercial and public restroom faucets are spring-loaded and self-closing, meaning that they’ll shut off just after a few seconds of being turned on. Another increasingly popular, yet expensive luxury is the infrared faucet, which flicks on when your hands are placed underneath. Likewise, it shuts off immediately following a retreat.
Next on the green design list is lighting. Your kitchen is already consuming the most power in the house, with all the large appliances like the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. So, it’s highly recommended to improve energy consumption anywhere possible. Usually, the easiest change would be your lights. This could range from a kitchen fanlight to track lighting above the sink. Next time you stop at your local hardware store, be sure to ask about low energy and LED light bulbs. Not only will you save money on your energy bill, but you’ll be invest in a bulb that lasts much longer than a traditional halogen.
Spending extra money to buy an energy star rated appliance will save you a bundle in the long haul. Despite the initial blow, an appliance built with energy ratings in mind will certainly save you 10 – 20 dollars a month over the course of however long you own your home. This could mean anywhere from 5 – 60 years, and that’s a lot of money when you add it up!
Fridges are a given; most energy-star rated refrigerators have an energy saver option which will cut the amount of time spent cooling during the day in half. Yet, it gets a bit trickier when it comes to selecting the right stove. For those who like more control usually select gas over electric, yet there are newer, induction cook tops that will generate heat faster while allowing more control. This translates to less cook time and more money saved each month.
Quite commonly, the installation of energy efficient appliances mixed with the ease of reach and layout is typically referred to as the ‘triangle.” This means that you should be able to reach most of your major appliances without having to move more than a few steps. Yet, the stove should not be facing the fridge because of heat remittance, and the stove should always be somewhat close to the sink for food preparation. Lastly, there should be sufficient counter space directly behind, or near the fridge so that items can be placed from the freezer to the counter top.
Larger kitchens come equipped with an island, which is the center of attention for most people. An island can have a built in vacuum, which allows for easy clean up, while saving you the energy that a normal 12-volt vacuum would consume.
Aside from composting and making sure to recycle, there’s one particular method that most people nowadays use to rid of excess food waste, while not harming the environment. Garbage disposals are a great way of recycling waste and further supplying water treatment plants with what are known as biosolids – These can thus be used to generate renewable power for the plant.
Floors, Cabinets and Walls
Even if your home isn’t completely built with reclaimed wood, your kitchen can be. Hardwood floors and cabinets made from reclaimed wood or recycled wood products are becoming increasingly popular. It’s also true that you can purchase recycled tile for your kitchen floors and/or walls.
When painting, always use non-or low volatile paint & stain products as to keep the air clean during humid days.
If followed thoroughly, the above recommendations can make for one fantastically sustainable kitchen. The next step would be to decorate it with plenty of green décor and incorporate green cookware into your every day lifestyle!