Home renovations can be overwhelming, but in the end, they’re meant to make your life easier. And choosing to do sustainable kitchen remodel ideas won’t simply be better for your lifestyle, but it will also positively impact the environment.
While people may be under the impression that creating a greener kitchen is more of a hassle, you will be pleasantly surprised that with a little planning, you can learn how to have a sustainable kitchen in just a few steps.
In this blog, we’ll share the best ways you can begin your sustainable kitchen remodel as well as a few ideas you can incorporate into your kitchen design.
Sustainable Products & Materials
When planning a sustainable kitchen remodel you need to think ahead. Before you begin designing or outlining your process, take note of all the products and materials you’ll be needing. The key piece to building sustainable kitchens is to consider the environmental, social, and economic impact of each of your chosen materials.
Choosing to create a greener kitchen means you have to not only think about how and where you’re getting your materials, but also the impact they will have over their entire life cycles. This means you’re paying attention to each element from the production stage to the final disposal of the product.
Sustainable Kitchen Cabinets
Your kitchen cabinets are an important part of your kitchen design. Oftentimes, building contractors will attempt to lower the total cost of homes by choosing to install plastic laminate or melamine cabinets. These are not only less appealing to the eye, but they also are usually sourced from nonrenewable resources.
When picking out sustainable kitchen cabinets you’ll want to focus on wood as your main material. As you begin looking at different types of wood, make sure you’re choosing formaldehyde-free MDF products. This is usually present in cheaper wood, however, it has been linked to many health concerns due to off-gassing chemicals.
Your best bet is to choose from a selection of natural hardwoods. As you do this, ensure your wood is FSC certified which means the forests where the wood is coming from are protected and sustainably managed.
Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
When considering flooring for your kitchen you’ll want to follow the same guidelines as you did with your cabinets. You should pay close attention to the VOC levels of your materials and finishes.
If you choose to go with natural hardwood flooring, make sure it is also FSC certified. You also have the option of using engineered hardwood flooring. This type of wood is a natural material that consists of combining a veneer of solid hardwood with a plywood core.
Using natural stone is another option to consider. You can choose between types of stone such as marble, granite, or quartz. The important thing to remember when using stone is to check your local quarry and see what types of rocks they offer. Doing this can eliminate the large energetic cost of transporting these heavy materials.
There’s also the more untraditional, yet trendy choice of installing cork floors. Since it comes from the bark of oak trees, cork is extremely environmentally friendly and keeps the tree itself standing when it’s taken. In some cases, people have even used recycled corks from wine bottles.
There’s an assortment of sustainable alternatives you can use when installing eco-friendly countertops. When selecting your countertop material, you’ll want to make sure it’s cohesive with the rest of your interior design style.
Bamboo is a renewable resource that’s becoming more popular as a countertop material. Coming in a variety of grain patterns with a sealant to protect against stains and scratches, bamboo countertops function similarly to wood. Salvaged wood from old barns is another option, however, it must be re-sealed more often than bamboo.
Another popular choice is to use recycled glass and concrete. These materials look similar to stone countertops and come in a variety of colors. Recycled glass and concrete surfaces require little maintenance and will last you decades.
Recycled paper can also be turned into a durable and versatile countertop material. After being compressed into a solid block, the surface is coated with a natural petroleum-free resin. This finish is heat-tolerant and mostly resistant to chips and scratches.
Improved Air Quality
Improved air quality may not be the first thing you think of when you hear about environmentally-friendly kitchens, but your indoor air quality is actually crucial to the environment as well as your own health. That’s why improving your air quality is an essential piece of a sustainable kitchen remodel.
When you’re indoors, the air is more concentrated which makes some common air pollutants up to five times higher than they are outside. Indoor air pollutants can cause a variety of health problems, which is why it’s important to maintain healthy and pollutant-free air while indoors.
Eco-Friendly Air Purifiers
Although they can’t rid your air completely of toxins, air purifiers are able to make breathing easier. The average humidity level inside your home should be between 30 – 60%. When air is too dry, it can trigger health concerns like allergies, respiratory illness, and dehydration.
If you decide to purchase a humidifier, you must remember to clean it regularly. This will ensure it’s working properly and prevents the buildup of dangerous bacteria in the water. Units that are fitted with permanent ceramic filters or antimicrobial plastic are both most effective at trapping bacteria and impurities.
While not all essential oils are beneficial to the quality of your air indoors, research shows that certain oils are able to inhibit the growth of air-borne bacteria. However, before purchasing a diffuser for your kitchen, it’s important to do some research. Not all diffusers are made for the purpose of improving air quality, so it’s essential you get one that’s up for the job.
Aromatherapy diffusers that spray a gentle mist into the air are the ones that are known to be most effective. These devices work similarly to humidifiers but they give you the option of adding essential oils. When searching for the most beneficial oils, you’ll want to consider tea tree, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, and varieties of citruses.
Energy & Water Efficiency
Oftentimes, your kitchen is the core of your home. This means it’s bound to soak up the most energy and water consumption. It’s important to remember this when planning a sustainable kitchen remodel because not only will it reduce energy and water use but it will also help cut down your monthly bills.
Finding the perfect lighting for your kitchen can be tricky, but when it comes to energy-efficient lights there’s nothing better than LED lights. Functional and sustainable, LED bulbs are known to have the longest lifespan of up to 3,000 hours. Which will help your kitchen remodel budget in the long run and reduce waste.
You have the option to choose different color temperatures and brightness levels ranging from cool to warm. Another good tip is to be strategic when placing your light fixtures.
Make sure your focal areas are getting the most light. You should also pay attention to where your natural light is coming from, and keep light fixtures away from windows where the room will be naturally bright.
Watching your water footprint is just as important as watching your carbon footprint. Low-flow kitchen faucets allow you to cut your water flow from about 4 gallons per minute to as low as 1.5 gallons per minute. You can do this by using a simple aerator that can be installed on an existing faucet or installed with a new one.
Hot water dispensers are also great at creating a greener kitchen. These devices use a small highly insulated water tank that connects to a smaller secondary faucet. They use less energy than stoves or electric kettles but are only a good option if you’re heating water up regularly throughout the day.
There are many different types of eco-friendly faucets that you can incorporate into your sustainable kitchen remodel. The great thing about them is that they also come in a variety of types and styles so you can pick the best faucet for your space.
Sustainable kitchen remodels don’t just benefit you and your home, but they improve the quality of our environment. You can create a greener kitchen while still incorporating your own style.
Interested in remodeling your kitchen space? Our custom design and home remodeling services can help you start creating your dream kitchen today.