The kitchen is where many of us spend most of our time. Why do you think most new homes and home renovations focus on the kitchen? It is the area that revolves around sustaining our livelihood. We cook, we try new recipes, we talk, we drink. The kitchen really is the heart of the home.
For many people, their dream kitchen includes white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, an attractive backsplash, a gas stove and a huge island complete with bar stools and perhaps a second sink. It’s enough to make a top chef out of anyone! But, what about an eco-friendly kitchen too? Those are popping up in popularity as people become more educated around sustainable living. If your kitchen is ready for an eco-friendly renovation, we have some handy tips for you.
In this case, we’re not talking about the color…d’uh! We mean sustainable countertops. This is something that uses recycled products and other materials. Even concrete can be sustainable. So, when shopping for countertops look for those made by Durcon (TM).
The goal is to use products that are earth-friendly and biodegradable, that don’t use harsh chemicals in the production process. It should also stand up nicely to wear and tear. When you have an eco-friendly countertop, you feel so much better about your kitchen.
Donate your old kitchen
If you live by reusing, reducing and recyling, then why not donate your old kitchen? There are many recipients who would be grateful for your kitchen items, and Habitat for Humanity is one. They sell them to people to refurbish. You might even reuse your cabinets elsewhere.
To illustrate, you can place some of your old kitchen cabinets in your bathroom and repaint them. Another option is to offer your cabinets to a local sports club or community group. Ask your family, friends and neighbors if they would like them. You can also list them on sites such as Freecycle.
Change the lighting
One immediate step you can take towards making your kitchen more eco-friendly is through switching out your incandescent bulbs for more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. In fact, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) can fit into any standard light socket.
What’s more is they use less energy and create less heat. As a result, you save on energy from cooling costs. Yet, don’t stop there. Try installing a tubular skylight. They are rather budget-friendly and bring in a lot of light during the day hours. Plus, who doesn’t like natural lighting?
Use energy-efficient appliances
If you’re in need of new appliances, look for ones with the Energy Star symbol. They’re hard to miss. The Energy Star program is used by the EPA to identify products that are more energy efficient. For kitchen appliances, this can mean around 10-to-20-percent more efficient.
When it comes to ovens, look for a convection oven with a fan because they are 25 percent more efficient than conventional ovens. An added bonus is they cook faster. Plus, self-cleaning ovens are better insulated. With regard to refrigerators, those with a freezer on the top or bottom are more efficient than side-by-side versions.
Bamboo and cork
The latest in eco-friendly kitchens is using bamboo. This material is great for cutting boards, place mats, dish holders and even backsplashes and flooring. You’ll notice a bamboo floor gives you a spring in your step. Bamboo grows abundantly, and purchasing bamboo helps to prevent more deforestation. Another floor option is cork. This is made from the bark that is peeled off of a tree and allowed to grow back. It is a nice, soft floor.
The benefit of an induction cooktop is they save 40-to-70-percent more than gas or electric rangetops. They work by using induction heating that involves an electromagnetic field that causes resistance–and heat–in an iron-containing pot or pan.
The cooktop stays cool to the touch, only the pot gets hot. As a result, it offers almost-instant temperature control. Although induction cooktops are still more expensive than conventional cooktops, their prices are expected to drop as the demand and competitions goes up.
Get recycled and used materials
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure–right? I love window-shopping at antique stores and consignment shops because there are so many items that can be reused, and that I just love. One way to make your kitchen standout is by adding character through antique door handles and knobs.
Who doesn’t love an antique handle? You can even have a theme such as your favorite decade–maybe it is the 20s or the 50s? Then, find old trinkets representative of your favorite era and use them around your kitchen. Renovation doesn’t mean you need to get everything brand new.
Instead of replacing your cabinets, repaint them
If they still work well, you don’t have to give them away just yet. You can repair and repaint them. The only ones you need to replace are the ones that have experienced the most wear and tear. Solid wood doors can be sanded and painted with a primer and topcoat.
Immediately, your kitchen will have a smart and fresh look. Of course, you want to use eco-friendly paint. In addition, painting is easy as long as you remove the doors and hardware before you start. There are many tutorials through various sites such as YouTube and Facebook. Then, you can use the tip above and add distinctive hardware.
If you have window dressings and dining chairs, choose cotton and wool fabrics. The reason is man-made fabrics are often manufactured with chemicals that harm the environment.
Once your beautiful renovation is completed, you want to keep your kitchen clean. Check the labels of household cleaning products. Their labels alone will help you determine whether or not they’re natural. On the other hand, you can stick to:
- Baking soda
Save industrial strength solutions for major cleaning projects.
Can you picture your eco-friendly kitchen renovation now? Isn’t it sweet? And, don’t you feel proud knowing you made the choice to help protect the environment?