Are you interested in designing an eco-friendly kitchen? We are too. In fact, many of the kitchen design ideas we promote here at Kitchen Magic are automatically sustainable because they're inherently durable and minimize exploitation of Mother Earth's resources.
Tips for Designing an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
You can get as detailed as you want about eco-friendliness, and a professional kitchen designer will go to whatever level of sustainability you desire. If you're in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel or update, consider these six simple areas where your selections make a big difference in terms of long-term sustainability.
Always reface cabinetry if you can
In almost all cases, refacing cabinets will yield the same look as custom cabinetry. In addition, refacing uses less than a single tree's worth of wood. As a result of the reinforcement process, your existing cabinets will have stronger, more durable boxes. You'll save money too since refaced cabinets cost less than half of the new custom design option.
Assuming your kitchen layout will be more-or-less the same, refacing cabinets is an eco-conscious design choice. But, not everyone is suited for this path. You'll have to determine if refacing is the viable choice for you. If you have questions speak with your design consultant to make the right determination.
Choose quartz or Corian countertops
Both products are considered more sustainable than granite. The production of quartz and Corian has less impact than the mining required for granite (not a renewable resource by any means). When you add their virtually maintenance-free qualities, along with the fact that they don't require toxic sealants and will last a lifetime without cracking or chipping—quartz and Corian are the lasting choice for your countertops.
Think about recycled materials
From the products that are recycled into quartz slabs, to the recycled glass that comprises glass tiles, there are plenty of opportunities to style your kitchen using materials manufactured with recycled "ingredients." Keep recycled items in mind for your decor choices. Refurbish and re-purpose items where you can—you'll create a stunning design piece while doing your part to help save the earth!
Create a timeless kitchen design
Part of sustainability is longevity. The more you have to re-do or replace, the less sustainable it is because it requires more resources to manufacture replacements. Products may require more toxins to be produced in order to paint, finish or seal it. You also have to consider the fact that you'll be using more fuel for shipping and transporting these items to and from locations.
Designing a sustainable kitchen requires a long-view approach. You want to design a timeless kitchen that will be as comfortable, functional and beautiful now as it will be five, ten and even 20 years from now. Create a kitchen design that shouldn't need any significant work or replacements and will be accessible for everyone in your family.
Energy efficient kitchen lighting, fixtures and appliances
The good news is that energy-efficiency is a serious priority in our culture today. Look for an HVAC system or appliances and lighting fixtures that have the Energy Star symbol to ensure they exceed current EPA guidelines for energy efficiency. Be sure your plumbing fixtures have the WaterSense label as well.
Adding dimmer switches to lights allows you to adjust the wattage. You decide when it should be brighter and save some energy in the process. Likewise, when you do replace your bulbs use LED bulbs wherever you can. They are more expensive at the outset but last longer so you get that money back via energy savings and fewer, lifetime replacements.
While you're at it, upgrade your sink faucets to touch-free. Not only is it convenient and easy-to-use you're minimizing water waste with automatic shut off. Go green with these little changes and you'll make a big difference.
Choose low to no-VOC finishes
Finally, off-gassing—the release of volatile organic chemicals (VOC)—compromises both outdoor and indoor air quality. A true, eco-friendly kitchen will have finishes that are low or zero-VOC, which minimizes pollution all around. Be sure to inquire about this as you work through the design process.
Schedule an in-home consultation with the design pros at Kitchen Magic and we'll guide you through an eco-friendly kitchen design.