Whether the motivation is cutting costs or improving environmental health, the argument for sustainable home design is easily made. As one of the more energy-devouring and heavily used rooms, the kitchen is a good place to begin implementing eco-friendly ideas. Sustainability and eco-awareness are becoming ever-present in our lives. You do not have to sacrifice style to be eco-friendly. Here are some tips for getting a green kitchen design…
Reface instead of Replace. If you’re like many homeowners, you plan to keep the existing layout of your kitchen exactly the same but wish to renew and update its look. Cabinet refacing, also known in the industry as cabinet resurfacing, lets you keep your existing kitchen intact while completely transforming its appearance. For an environmentally friendly kitchen, wood should be always be ethically sourced (preserve our forests across the world.)
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!
Quartz and Corian
Quartz and Corian are low maintenance, durable, and do not need potentially toxic sealants. They are produced in the US and are more eco-friendly than mined granite. To leave an even smaller carbon footprint… go with a factory that recycles its water and scrap material.
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. The more people that demand this the more common it will become. Be sure to inquire about this as you work through the design process.
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 water sense 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. Also keep your refrigerator full and at a regular temperature, for maximum efficiency. Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full before you run them. And use liquid detergents at an eco-friendly low temperature.
Insulate and Ventilate
Air quality is an all-important but often missing ingredient when creating an eco-friendly kitchen. A sustainable kitchen will prioritize ventilation, helping to control moisture, reducing exposure to mold as well as minimizing the risk of structural damage. If you are opening up walls to renovate, introducing wall insulation will encourage energy efficiency and thermal comfort all year round. Sealing off any air leakages around doors, windows, vents, skylights and exhaust fans will also reduce your energy bills and carbon emissions by up to 25%! The EPA says that indoor air is twice as polluted as outdoor air, so remember to throw open windows and make sure you have as much energy efficient ventilation as possible installed.
Although it might cost more initially, designing a kitchen with longevity in mind saves time and money in the long run. Invest in a high quality, functional kitchen remodel that you and your family can enjoy for many years without ebbing away at earth’s resources. Green doesn’t have to be boring as the latest style trends take the environment into account.
Creativity makes all the difference in remodeling your home! Becraft Plus has completed many full home renovations over the years. Contractor experience makes all the difference.
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About Becraft Plus
Since 1989, Becraft Plus has provided customized design and construction services to customers in the Washington, D.C. area. We specialize in custom home building, additions and remodeling, and whole house renovations with a focus on creating living spaces that are tailored to the needs of our clients.
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