Green kitchen design involves reducing the energy and resource dependence in this important household room. With so many appliances and fixtures, the kitchen is often a major culprit in an inflated utility bill. Engaging in green kitchen design can not only save money on electricity, gas, and water, but can also help fight pollution, deforestation, and non-sustainable materials use.
Reducing the energy used by appliances is a major concern of green kitchen design. The simplest way to manage this change is to replace all appliances with certified low-energy models. Refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and microwaves are all available in energy-efficient models, though replacing all appliances at once may be prohibitively expensive. The good news is that energy efficient appliances can dramatically reduce utility bills, leading to long-term savings. In some regions, engaging in green kitchen design can also net a tax credit or deduction, which may help manage the costs of retrofitting old appliances.
To cut down on water usage, consider replacing a tradition kitchen faucet with an infrared sensor model. These faucets help reduce wasted water by shutting off automatically if nothing triggers their sensors. If a person turns on a faucet to wash their hands, then turns away to answer the phone, the faucet automatically shuts off, saving valuable water for later use. Green kitchen design can also help cut down on water heating costs by installing energy efficient water heaters or wrapping an insulation blanket around an existing water heater.
Flooring, cabinetry, and counters all play a part in green kitchen design. Choosing materials that are recycled, sustainably sourced, and environmentally safe can go a long way toward creating an ecologically sound kitchen. Consider using recycled material finishes, such as terrazzo or paper stone, for counters. Bamboo is an excellent material for cabinetry, flooring and counter tops, and is a sustainable product. Marmoleum flooring is similar to linoleum but made from natural, eco-friendly substances.
Using green cleaning supplies helps reduce the amount of chemical pollution generated by a home, and also helps keeps Fido and the kids from being doused in bleach-based products. Green cleaning supplies are widely available at grocery stores, and often cost less than traditional cleaning products. Using recycled paper towels or reusable dishcloths for cleaning can also help cut down on paper waste.
One final important element in green kitchen design is lighting. Kitchens often have bright lights and multiple fixtures, since being able to see what is being cooked is very important to the final product. Consider replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with lower-energy fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lights last longer and can help reduce energy use, and also come in dimming varieties that can increase savings.