Kitchen renovations can be as daunting as they are exciting. With so many choices to make on what to update, sometimes the choice on how to renovate is overlooked. If you’re ready to give your kitchen a redo, and you’re looking to go green, here are five essentials for your fresh new kitchen:
Aside from making you look cutting edge and cool, this is the safest and most efficient style of cooktop available on the market. Induction cooktops use electromagnetic energy to heat pots and pans with 90-95% efficiency. Pots and pans must be ferrous, or reactive to a magnetic field, like steel or cast iron. With traditional gas stoves only 55% of energy used is applied to cooking, electric stoves are slightly better, clocking in at 65% efficiency. Induction cooktops are also safer and easier to clean, since they are a solid, smooth surface that is always cool to the touch.
Recycled or Reclaimed Counter Top
Reclaimed and recycled materials can make fabulous countertops. Remember the couple who installed a bowling alley countertop? Recycled glass countertops are a beautiful way to keep your kitchen bright and green, in the case of Vetrazzo’s Bistro Green countertop sourced from a variety of glass bottles and jars. There are plenty of other options with paper, aluminum, stone, and other reclaimed materials to give your kitchen a unique countertop and center island to shimmy up to on a FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved barstool at Crate & Barrel.
Choose a flooring material that’s both eco-friendly and easy for you to live with. Cork & Bamboo are both great options. Cork comes in myriad colors and patterns and the cost is comparable to most composite or hardwood choices. Cork is naturally hypo-allergenic and insulating, so it will absorb sound and be warm underfoot even in winter!
Bamboo provides a look much more similar to traditional hardwood and is rapidly renewable. It can be purchased in varying degrees of hardness. For kitchen traffic, choose the hardest flooring available: it will show less wear over time, especially when things are dropped on it.
Responsible Waste Disposal
A renovation is a great time to re-evaluate how efficiently you’re using your space and make a few changes in your kitchen layout. Small changes in your everyday life can make a big impact on the planet. Make space for easily accessible bokashi composting, recycling, and trash. Bokashi composting is the easiest and most forgiving way to compost and because it’s in a sealed container it won’t smell. Put trash and recycling side by side and make sure you’re only putting items in the trash that can’t go into compost or recycling.
If you’re thinking of keeping your current appliances make sure they are energy efficient. Your refrigerator should have a good seal on it. HGTV recommends shutting the door over a dollar bill, if the bill slides out easily you should have your seal replaced. If you do replace your refrigerator, look into a top and bottom style (freezer can be either top or bottom) as these let less cold air escape than side-by-side models. Any new appliance you choose should be energy-star certified. Many dishwashers now offer top rack only cleaning cycles to save water and energy on small loads of dishes. Convection ovens cook 25 percent faster than standard ovens, saving you time and energy.
Consider a green kitchen renovation for your home. It will last longer, perform better and save energy costs for years to come. When tearing out the existing kitchen, recycle or reuse as many materials as possible. This reduces landfill waste and carbon emissions!