Tips on Designing a Green Kitchen
By Diana Smith
A kitchen almost always becomes the centre of a home. The mood and aesthetics of the room often affect the entire house. Having an eco-friendly kitchen benefits not just the environment, but your personal health as well. Take extra steps to make sure that the kitchen design isn’t wasteful or harmful to the environment and you will change the way your entire household is run, especially the way your meals are prepared. Most of it the steps are easy to do and the benefits are numerous and long-lasting.
The right materials
People tend to focus on energy consumption and that is important, but besides that, every green kitchen implies using biodegradable and natural materials. Floors, countertops, and even the cutting boards are a good place to save money by using recyclable materials. For example, fast-growing bamboo can be harvested pretty quickly, it absorbs greenhouse gases and wastes little water. All of this and the fact that it looks gorgeous makes it a perfect material for kitchen cabinets. Also, try to use stone-chipped countertops. There’s no difference in quality or aesthetics, but it’s a good way to re-use the material.
Wasteful water consumption is likely to become the most important environmental issue pretty soon and your kitchen is the best place to start dealing with it. Installing aerators is the easiest and probably the most effective way to start. A faucet aerator is a disc inserted into the faucet that adds air to the water. That way you won’t lose any pressure, but you will use up to 50 percent less water every time you turn on the faucet. Using steamers could also save a significant amount of water used for boiling and it’s also a much healthier option.
Buying appliances isn’t always a simple decision – you only do it every couple of years and there are a lot of things to consider. First of all, make sure to find out how much energy each appliance consumes and how long it might last before the first major repair is needed. Also, it might be good to compare the operating costs of gas and electrical appliances. NEFF appliances offer both options and although gas is usually the greener one, it also comes with a higher installation cost, meaning it’s more suitable for those who own a home or don’t plan to move for a while.
Spending a bit more on energy efficient lighting may seem like a waste, but it’s actually a money saving solution in the long run. Fluorescent lights can save up to 90 percent of energy when compared to the traditional ones. These light bulbs also last much longer –even up to 10.000 hours each. LED lights will save you about the same amount, but they are a much better option for task lights because the illumination quality is much higher, so make sure you install them over your kitchen counter.
Most people can’t be bothered with recycling because it takes too much work and isn’t always convenient. This problem could easily be solved by creating a recycling station in the kitchen. It’s just a matter of designating a spot (one of the cabinets will do) and setting up a schedule for emptying the bins (once a week is fine for an average family). If you have time and are willing to put in a bit of extra effort, you could also add a compost bin next to it. Just don’t forget to add baking soda to it every once in a while.
Having an eco-friendly kitchen isn’t only good for the environment – in the long run, it’s also an affordable thing to do. Take your time to consider the idea and adjust your kitchen routine, but don’t hesitate to make that change