A well designed and attractive kitchen can make a house ‘homely’. However, kitchen appliances consume a lot energy in the house. It is estimated that lighting, cooking and refrigeration together consume more than 40% of the total electricity that a house uses. There is also the matter of chemicals and toxins used in the manufacturing of the materials used to build a kitchen, like cabinetry, flooring, paint, etc. This is why doing a green kitchen remodel is not only important for energy savings and comfort, but also for safety and peace of mind.
If you are looking to invest on kitchen remodel, there are several options that can help you create an energy efficient, eco-friendly kitchen. Here are a few tips:
Flooring – There is a wide variety of wood flooring made from renewable sources. Eucalyptus, cork and bamboo trees mature in about half the time (or less) than expensive hardwoods like oak and cherry. You can make an environment friendly choice and also have a good looking, affordable and durable floor by choosing rapidly renewable species of wood. There are also many other options like concrete, linoleum, recycled glass tiles, rubber, as well as wool and P.E.T. Berber carpet.
Countertops – Kitchen countertops need to be durable, and water & heat resistant. Stained concrete slabs have non-toxic and natural pigmentation. These are not only safe but also affordable and look neat in a kitchen. If you are using stone counter tops, make sure that they are well sealed to prevent staining caused by spilling of food products. There are other options like wood, recycled glass, bamboo, plastic and even paper…yes paper!
Air Admittance Valves – While going green for your custom kitchen remodeling, the plumbing system also needs to be taken care of. Air admittance valves (AAVs) are pressure-activated, one-way mechanical vents that eliminate the need for conventional pipe venting and roof penetrations. A discharge of wastewater causes the AAV to open - it releases the vacuum and allows air to enter plumbing vent pipe for proper drainage. Otherwise, the valve remains closed, preventing the escape of sewer gas and maintaining the trap seal. Use of AAVs significantly reduces the amount of venting materials required in a plumbing system, increases plumbing labour efficiency, and reduces long-term maintenance problems associated with conventional vent stack roofing penetrations.
Energy Efficient Appliances – Kitchen appliances not only come with an initial price tag (purchase price) but there is also the cost you pay for their energy consumption. To complete your green kitchen, make sure to purchase Energy Star certified products which are more energy efficient and will save you money in the long run.
Customizing your kitchen to be more eco-friendly might seem daunting but it really isn’t since nowadays it is becoming more and more popular and eco building materials are easy to find – but if it still seems like a big task, you can look for a licensed contractor that has experience in green building to help you in the project.