When you remodel your kitchen, do you want to have a big carbon footprint on the environment or a small one? Eco-friendly building isn’t just a trend, it’s also more affordable and easy to do than any decade before now. The entire building industry has been focusing on way to build more efficient homes and offices and to build more efficiently to have the minimal possible.
This means that as a homeowner with a kitchen renovation, there are many different and pretty darn cool eco-friendly ways to rebuild your kitchen. Not only can you make your kitchen more energy efficient and water efficient, you can also reduce the impact the entire project has on the environment. Use upcycled materials and recycle your own materials that are removed. Your kitchen can be beautiful, fresh, new, and wonderfully green all at once.
Build with Locally Sourced Materials
One of the best ways to reduce your kitchen remodel’s carbon footprint is just to source local materials. Instead of ordering from across the country or across the world, prioritize materials that are available in your city or less than a five hour drive away. This can drastically minimize the fuel burned to transport your materials and complete your remodel.
Source locally harvested wood, tile that is crafted or stored near to you, and fixtures you can find with local suppliers. In fact, use this as inspiration to try something interesting and new that may only be available near you or available instead of a material you might mail order.
Incorporate Reclaimed Wood and Tile
One of our favorite innovations in building is reclaimed wood and tile. Reclaimed wood is wall panels and floor boards pulled out of buildings before they are renovated or knocked down. The wood is still beautiful and solid, and rich with history from an entire previous life in that first building. Reclaimed tile can be just as romantic when built into your home after serving a long notable life in a hotel, office building, or subway station somewhere else.
Reclaimed materials take items that still have some wonderful value and history and using them somewhere new. Get inspired by exploring the reclaimed materials available in your area.
Recycle and Upcycle Your Removed Materials
When materials are pulled from your kitchen for the remodel, what could you add to the reclaimed market? If you are removing undamaged tiles or replacing a good but old-fashioned sink, why not upcycle them to someone else who will find them perfect for their own new design project? Talk to your contractors about the potential of safe harvesting your materials for upcycle. Remember, even cracked tiles and countertop stone can be reused as mosaic pieces and remanent stone projects.
Energy-Efficient Lights and Appliances
Reduce the total amount of electricity your kitchen needs with energy-efficient light fixtures and appliances. Every appliance you replace, make sure it’s energy-star rated to drastically decrease the power used by your kitchen every day, month, and year. The refrigerator is an especially power-hungry appliance so if you’re replacing it, this is a great chance to significantly reduce your power consumption.
New light fixtures are essential to modern kitchen renovations, often adding shelf and pantry lighting to chase away those pesky shadows. Choose LEDs and energy-efficient fixtures and enjoy the low power bills years in the future.
Source Toxicity-Free Cabinetry, Paints, and Finishes
Many industry-standard materials are made with preservatives and solvents that are bad for the air quality and bad for the environment. Fortunately, attention has been drawn to these products and there are more than a few alternatives. First, ask your contractors to help you find cabinetry made without toxins, especially VOC and formaldehyde. In addition, choose paints and finishes that contain little to no VOCs and favor low-toxicity blends. Paint is inherently a little toxic until it fully dries, but you can limit your use and exposure.
Install Tight, Aerated, and Filtered Plumbing Fixtures
Save water by installing tight new taps and handles. Choose faucets with aerators which reduce your water use without reducing your experience of having enough water to wash with each second the tap is running. Now is also your opportunity to install a filter right on the kitchen tap to ensure that every cup and pot you fill is with clean, fresh water no matter what the local pipes are up to.
Make Use of Natural Light and Mirrors
Natural light is a great way to make your kitchen more beautiful and to reduce the electricity you need during the day. Any windows near your kitchen can be optimized with hanging glass sculptures and strategically placed mirrors. Reflect the sunlight in an artistic way through your home to light up the gloom. There are some beautiful ways to enhance your kitchen with natural light, wherever your windows may be.
Decorate with Living Plants
As your final touch, you can finish your new kitchen design with eco-friendly decorations. Potted plants and natural decor are a wonderful crowning detail for your green designed kitchen. Treat yourself to a planter with its own grow light and maybe even an auto-waterer. Grow herbs for cooking or vibrant little succulents to spice up your space. Or pick a different potted flower for every surface of the kitchen to try out your green thumb.
When your guests ask about the plants, this is the perfect seaway to the history of your reclaimed boards and the minimal footprint of your entire new kitchen design.
Eco-friendly design is a great way to blueprint your kitchen renovation. In addition to your vision of how your kitchen should look and function when the renovation is done, green design will feel amazing to choose and to walk into every single morning and evening. You can look at your new floors and know they came from reclaimed tile or wood. You can run your hand over the freshly painted walls knowing they are non-toxic both for the environment and the health and safety of your family. Are ou ready to start your eco-friendly kitchen design? So are we! Contact us today!