Your home is a reflection of your personality, and that is an important point to keep in mind as you consider a remodel. The kitchen is a focal point of your home and should reflect not only your design style but what type of statement you want to make to your friends, family, and other guests.
One way to make that statement is by considering an eco=friendly kitchen. Reusable materials and energy-efficient appliances can give you a kitchen that’s stylish and good for the environment. Whether you want to go all out or just include a few sustainable elements, here are a few of the options to consider.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR appliance program has been around since 1992 and has become ubiquitous in the world of appliances. Manufactures team up with the government to receive ENERGY STAR certification on their products based on the number of greenhouse gases they produce.
Choosing an ENERGY STAR refrigerator or dishwasher is an easy way to make your kitchen a little more environmentally friendly. All of the products are labeled and readily available wherever you buy appliances. If you are working with a design consultant like Three Week Kitchens, make sure to let them know that you want ENERGY STAR appliances where possible.
There’s also an opportunity to help the environment when removing your old appliances. Rather than putting them on the curb for your garbage collector to pick up and send to a landfill, consider putting them on Craigslist or Freecycle so that someone else can use them. You can also explore options for donating them to a shelter or other nonprofit in your area.
These are two crucial elements of any kitchen remodel, and there are a lot of ways to make them eco-friendly. Materials like bamboo and concrete have come a long way over the years, and remodelers no longer have to sacrifice style to have a kitchen that’s good for the environment.
Many kitchen cabinets use particleboard or fiberboard for their interior boxes. These materials are filled with formaldehyde and other binding elements that produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to the environment. Look for materials that are Green Seal or GreenGuard certified if you want to avoid these harmful fillers.
Beyond VOCs, there’s also the problem of trees being cut down to make cabinets and not growing back. Bamboo and lyptus are two durable, stylish types of wood that are environmentally friendly because of how quickly they grow back.
As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that’s certainly true with reclaimed wood. Before you spring for brand new cabinets, consider whether there are any secondhand options you can refinish.
The same harmful VOCs that lurk behind cabinets also show up in vinyl and other types of flooring that are common in kitchens.
The same bamboo that’s used in cabinets can also be used on the floor. Don’t worry about overlap. With the right stains and finishes, you will never be able to tell that the cabinets and the floors are made of the same material.
Other eco-friendly flooring options include cork, glass, concrete, and even linoleum. Our team at Three Week Kitchens can help you determine which of these options will be the best fit for your budget and the style you are trying to achieve in your kitchen.