Five Ways to Be More Environmentally Friendly in Your New Kitchen Design
Whether it's for the health of your family, the planet, or both, we are noticing that our clients have a greater interest in cultivating a kitchen with the right materials to ensure it is the happy, healthy, eco-friendly space it needs to be. More and more, homeowners are conscious of the environment when remodeling or building a new home. “Green” design is in high demand and can be incorporated into nearly every aspect of your kitchen. It’s not only about choosing reclaimed or sustainable materials, but also being conscious about the function of your kitchen and your ability to lower energy usage with smart design, from the appliances you choose to the size of your windows.
A truly eco-friendly kitchen has a thoughtful, holistic design that supports a healthy family lifestyle and saves energy and the planet at the same time. Here are four of the easiest ways for you to be more environmentally friendly when you're redesigning your kitchen.
Choosing the most eco-friendly materials.
This is the number one way that customers are looking to be more environmentally conscious when they are remodeling. We like to use sustainable materials such as bamboo, concrete, and cork. Another popular option is recycled or reclaimed wood, which can be incorporated into your design in a myriad of ways.
Adding proper ventilation and light.
One way that you can make a big impact in terms of eco-consciousness and energy consumption in your kitchen is by installing great windows. Large windows that let in more light will cut back on energy usage during the day, as well as allowing for better airflow and cooling in the summer. According to the EPA, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, so keep them open when the weather allows.
Avoiding volatile compounds.
Most people overlook the ingredients of the products they use—from kitchen cleaning products to furniture. Resins in products made for cabinets, countertops, and flooring often have added urea formaldehyde, a known VOC. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that easily become harmful gases released into the air, and they’re dangerous to human health. Volatile compounds are found in nearly every kind of kitchen material, including glue, paint, and sealants. Note that all tagged “green” products are not equal. The best indicator that a product doesn’t degrade indoor air quality is the Greenguard certification.
Upgrading appliances and fixtures.
If you have plans to upgrade your kitchen appliances, make sure to choose energy-efficient and energy-saving models. Modern appliances use up to 50% less energy than standard models, greatly reducing your energy bills -- and your impact on the environment. And it's not only about electricity usage. Consider water when you're upgrading -- modern dishwashers can run a cycle using less than half of the water that their older counterparts use, and newer "low flow" faucets also greatly reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain.
Smart appliances with sensors and monitoring capabilities can help you save even more money and energy over time.
Hiring a contractor who knows sustainability.
Be sure to hire an experienced contractor who speaks your language and understands your eco-friendly concerns! Ask around before deciding on which contractor you are going to hire. Whether you choose to spruce up your kitchen flooring, or do a complete remodel, we’re here to help you bring to life your environmentally conscious ideas. Our professional design and build team members are here to inform and inspire you! To request a quote or ask a question, call us at (650) 287-4202 or drop us a note in our contact form.