“I’m interested in some ideas for how I can ‘green’ up my kitchen. What changes can I implement to make it more environmentally friend and healthy for my family without a full renovation?” ~ Stefanie Brady, Greenwich, Connecticut
There might have been a time when making environmentally conscious choices for your home was a hippy-dippy, not-so-attractive practice. Well, that’s not really the case anymore; gone are the days of hemp, burlap and a hodgepodge of salvaged materials. Building a healthy home that’s earth-friendly is nowhere near as daunting as it once was, especially with the vast array of modern, elegant and accessible options on the market today.
Try this at home:
- Look to renewable resources. Instead of hardwood or tile floors, which give the environment quite the pounding during production, give cork a try. It’s anti-microbial, a natural insulator (think warm underfoot during the winter), tough (you can drop anything on it, and it’ll absorb the damage with little harm done), and the cork tree can be harvested without any impact to the plant or its environment. Bamboo is also a great flooring (and cabinetry!) option.
- Opt for recycled materials. There is an almost endless range of options for backsplashes these days, including beautiful, sparkling tiles made of recycled glass, which doesn’t breakdown in landfills. They add a designer touch to your décor, and are available in a wide spectrum of colors.
- Go for low- or no-voc. Paint, wallpaper, grout, sealer, adhesive—all of these materials used throughout your kitchen do something that is called out-gassing. Simply put, they let go of harmful chemicals that you can’t see, smell or taste. Luckily, all of those are available in a low- or no-voc (which stands for volatile organic compounds) varieties that will improve your indoor air quality and overall well-being.
- Think outside the granite. Granite has to be quarried and transported in order to grace your countertops, which consumes a ton of energy, not to mention natural resources. Terrazzo countertops, on the other hand, are made from recycled glass (from bottles, windshields, etc.), marble chips, and concrete, and don’t need to be quarried. They look and feel like stone, are incredibly durable, and are offered in many colors.
- Save water with your faucets. Faucets with aerators are a great way to save water every day. They pump your water with air to reduce the amount needed while keeping your pressure the same. Our low-flow faucets (like the Ashfield kitchen faucet), help reduce water consumption and you won’t even notice the difference! Also, a recirculation pump added to your existing faucet will keep hot water on tap, so there’s no need to let the water run while it warms.
- Conserve energy. If you’re looking into purchasing some new appliances, make sure they are Energy Star rated, especially your refrigerator, which is an energy vampire. Any appliance with that rating is going to be 30- to 70-percent more efficient. Besides being money in your pocket, it makes for a grateful earth!
There are so many other options out there to get a green kitchen. What have you used in your home to make an eco-friendly impact? Tell us on our facebook fan page!