A kitchen remodel isn’t just a chance to make your space more trendy or functional, it can also be a chance to make it more environmentally friendly. When careful attention isn’t paid to energy used and waste created by your kitchen, it can become one of the most environmentally damaging rooms in the house. If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, here are some of the best ways to make the new room as green as possible.
- Use salvaged wood or antique cabinets - New cabinets increase worldwide demand for wood, contributing to deforestation and global warming. A more eco-friendly option is to use salvaged wood or antique cabinets to furnish your kitchen. Not only can these be used to add some incredibly unique vintage style to your kitchen, you’ll be helping the environment by using recycled materials.
- Use energy efficient appliances - Kitchen appliances are typically the worst offenders when it comes to water and energy usage in the kitchen. Replace those old inefficient refrigerators and dishwashers with energy saving models that will help save the environment and money. Look for ENERGY STAR products and you may even be eligible for rebates.
- Install energy efficient lighting - If your kitchen hasn’t been remodeled in years, chances are there a more energy efficient options you could be using to light your kitchen. These greener options will give you the same fantastic lighting at a lesser cost to the environment.
- Use greener materials like Corian - Where possible, try to use environmentally friendly materials to construct your kitchen. One is example is corian countertops that use 6-20% pre-consumer recycled materials, and have been used to contribute to LEED certification. These countertops are also extremely durable, reducing the need for replacements and further waste.
- Build in composting over garbage disposal - Instead of disposing of your food waste by sending it through the garbage disposal, do away with it naturally through composting. Compact composters that fit under your sink or outside are now available that make composting a convenient strategy to build into your kitchen remodel.
- Install a greywater system - Greywater is any household wastewater with the exception of that from the toilet. By introducing a greywater system into your new kitchen you can dramatically decrease the amount of fresh water needed for your outdoor space and the amount of wastewater you’re sending to municipal treatment plants.
- Don’t do it the remodel - Perhaps the most important question you need to ask is whether or not a full remodel is really necessary. Will new energy-saving appliances or a new countertop deliver the same level of satisfaction? If so, it might be best to skip the hassle and costs (financial and environmental) of remodeling your kitchen.
What ways have you made your kitchen green? What’s your dream green kitchen?
Warren Howe is a DIYer and writer for Solid Surface, an online retailer of corian and formica countertops for everyone from DIYers to commercial projects.