Whether you want to reduce toxins in your home or conserve water and electricity, “green” design principles have emerged over the last couple of years that make it possible to create a smaller environmental footprint while maximising your wellbeing. Here are Nu-Look’s 5 ingredients to making your kitchen more eco-friendly.
1. NON-TOXIC FINISHES
As the kitchen becomes the heart of many homes, families are spending more time in this space so it makes sense that the surfaces, fittings and fixtures don’t give off gas or leach harmful chemicals. Moldings, furniture, shelving, flooring, and textiles all have the potential to emit harmful toxins and unfortunately just because a product claims to be eco-friendly doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Always do your research on kitchen products that claim to be green so you can be certain that they are not exposing you and your family to hazardous chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on your health such as asthma and allergies.
2. EAT CLEAN AND WASTE NOT
What better way to cultivate a green thumb and create an eco-friendly kitchen that will serve you well into the future than by introducing a garden patch near your kitchen. Fresh produce on your doorstep is an ideal way to ensure you’re eating what’s in season not to mention the benefit of having plants nearby to improve air flow. The kitchen generates more waste than any room in a house so an easy fix is to have compost bin built into your kitchen so you can later use on your garden. If you don’t have much of a backyard or lack the outdoor space, you can always incorporate some pot plants for a containable herb garden in your kitchen. Perfect for indoor conditions and conserving countertop space, you can angle pots over the sinks and make use of the natural light by hanging herb pot plants on the side of the cabinet adjacent to a window.
3. REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE
Looking at your new kitchen through a planet friendly lens can help create a unique look, especially when salvaging and repurposing older materials. Reclaimed wood introduces texture and beauty and can be used for countertops, doors and cabinetry. It also contrasts strikingly with commonly used sleek surfaces like stainless steel, tile and stone. One of the simplest green moves you can make is to invest in second-hand items like sinks, light shades and kitchen furniture, especially if you are planning a bespoke country kitchen. Getting creative with something reclaimed or retrofit, like reusing a worktable as a kitchen island is a wonderful way to add character and charm to a space.
4. VENTILATE & INSULATE
Air quality is an all-important but often missing ingredient when creating an eco-friendly kitchen. A sustainable kitchen will prioritise ventilation, helping to control moisture, reducing exposure to mould as well as minimising the risk of structural damage. If you are opening up walls to renovate, introducing wall insulation will encourage energy efficiency and thermal comfort all year round. Sealing off any air leakages around doors, windows, vents, skylights and exhaust fans will also reduce your energy bills and carbon emissions by up to 25%!
5. ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES
Upgrading your kitchen usually involves choosing big-ticket items like a new fridge, oven and cooktops, providing an opportunity to invest in high energy star rating appliances. While some of these may be costly upfront, the savings made over time through significantly reduced energy bills makes energy star appliances worth the investment. When appliances such as your dishwasher or microwave are not in use, a standby saver plug can automatically switch off appliances when they’re not in use saving you hundreds in annual household energy bills.