Now more than ever it can be practical to have the kitchen of your dreams, and in doing incorporate environmentally friendly options. In the past to have both a “green” and designer inspired kitchen you would have to also have a large budget, but today you can have it all. After researching, you will find that there is a lot of variety when it comes to both gorgeous and “green” kitchen choices.
Many people have started to take more of an interest in reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint. If you are one of those people, and if you have been itching to update or re-do your kitchen, then you can certainly go for an eco and budget friendly space that looks high-end. Flooring, appliances, and countertops all come in environmentally friendly options, and some of the choices you make will eventually save you money over time. From the ground up you can change the look and feel of your kitchen all while helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
Look for flooring that is created from renewable or recycled sources. There are many choices when it comes to eco-friendly flooring options. Some of the more popular choices are bamboo, wood that has been reclaimed, cork, tile, stone, and even linoleum. Bamboo is very popular because it grows incredibly fast and it happens to be very sustainable. Cork is a great choice is you are looking for a flooring option with the same strength as typical hardwoods, and it is easily renewable. A truly affordable option is reclaimed wood. When you use reclaimed wood you will create a look that is very one of a kind and it is sure to add more interest to your space. For a more classic feel, you can opt for either tile or stone flooring. Both are eco-friendly because they can be repurposed later if you decide to change the flooring later. For heavily trafficked places you may want to consider linoleum flooring. It happens to be incredibly durable, and it comes in the most options. More importantly, linoleum is created using all natural ingredients and it can be very affordable.
Energy Efficient Appliances
When making updates to your kitchen, whether it is a complete renovation or not, the cost of new energy efficient appliances is becoming more and more reasonable. There is no better time to get new appliances that will not only help to accent the newer feel of your kitchen, but also require less energy to operate. This will save you money overtime and decrease your impact on the earth. High efficiency and Energy Star appliances are good indicators that the appliances will be energy saving and beneficial pieces to add into your kitchen.
Low Voltage Lighting
Lighting is how we all tie our spaces together, and it can make a difference both environmentally and in the pocket book. Natural lighting is the best way to take advantage of available resources. If you have the choice, choose natural light. Add or expand windows to invite more warmth and light into your kitchen and lower your energy usage by almost half. For task lighting, be sure to replace your standard light bulbs with the more efficient compact fluorescents (CFL) or LEDs. LED will have the longest lifespan and most savings overtime, but they tend to be a bit pricier than others. Eventually the savings between CFLs and LEDs are quite comparable. Changing only the lighting in your kitchen can significantly lower the impact you and your family have on the environment.
Cabinets and Countertops
The most significant changes that people can make to their kitchen space are the countertops and cabinetry. Luckily there happens to be a massive variety of environmentally and pocket friendly choices when it comes to both cabinetry and countertops. Wheat board and bamboo are some of the best options for cabinetry. Wheat board is made from wheat straw which is a farm waste by-product. If you opt for wheat board cabinetry then you will not only be keeping a lot of waste out of landfills, but you will be able to customize it even more. Wheat board can come in a range of color and texture options. Bamboo cabinetry is beneficial to have for the same reasons bamboo flooring is. It grows rapidly and after it is removed, the roots remain intact and continue to grow more. Most of the choices for your countertops are environmentally friendly or can easily be turned “green.” There are many options available including recycled plastics, concrete, laminates, stone, stainless steel, and solid surfacing. The greenest choice is solid surface countertops. Also called paper composite, solid surface countertops are incredibly strong and resistant to scratching. Concrete that substitutes fly ash instead of cement and that is produced locally is a great way to be eco-friendly. If you choose to go with laminates, then choose those that are created from recycled plastics with no formaldehyde substrates and nontoxic glue.
Regardless of whether you are gutting and redoing your entire kitchen, or just making simple updates, you can use these ideas to create the ultimate environmentally friendly and lavish kitchen possible.