Sustainable and net-zero homes are two of the biggest trends in the global housing industry, with home dwellers seeking ultra-energy-efficient, smart, biophilic homes that celebrate the human connection to nature.
A completely sustainable kitchen can cost tens of thousands of dollars to install. However, those on a budget who wish to prepare meals in a more eco-conscious space can take many individual steps over the years, with a view to eventually running a net-zero kitchen where delicious, nutritious meals are served to loved ones.
Choosing Energy and Water-Efficient Appliances
One of the main tenets of the eco-friendly lifestyle is to avoid buying and throwing away items quickly. Sustainable items and appliances should stand the test of time and work in an energy-efficient manner. Unfortunately, many old kitchen appliances are big energy guzzlers.
For instance, a 20-year-old fridge could use around 1,700 kWh of electricity per year, compared to around 450 kWh for a model with Energy Star certification. In addition to checking out energy consumption, choosing the right designs can make a big difference.
The way a washing machine loads, for instance, has a big effect on water savings. Front-load washers used just 13 gallons of water per load, compared to 3o-45 gallons used by traditional top-load models.
Smart kitchens can help your family cut down on its energy usage in many ways – including smart lighting, which can be programmed to dim down or turn off completely when you are not home.
Some appliances have extra features that help reduce energy consumption through their creative design – such as smart fridges with see-through doors that allow you to select an item before opening the fridge. Others remind home dwellers of the expiry dates of food so that wastage can be reduced.
Yet others make automatic grocery lists, so you can avoid making frequent trips to the grocery. Smart home equipment does not have to break your budget; in fact, there are many affordable gadgets and appliances that can make a big difference.
Examples include smart trash cans, which come with carbon odor filters and air vents, and smart food thermometers, which let you know when food is ready so you don’t cook it longer than necessary.
Smart Design Features
If you are up for a full kitchen makeover, the sky’s the limit when it comes to green materials and designs. Some eco-friendly companies (such as Silestone) have sustainable countertop collections featuring materials made with 100% renewable energy and a minimum of 20% recycled raw materials.
Others (such as Teragren) use one of the most sustainable construction materials known to humankind – bamboo – to make stunning countertops that are actually carbon-negative (because they sequester carbon when being manufactured).
Still others (such as stone countertops made by Cambria) are made with nonporous, nonabsorbent materials that are considered low-emitting. This is key when it comes to keeping your indoor air quality pure.
Modern families are seeking sustainable interiors that promote energy efficiency and better air quality. There are many steps you can take to make your kitchen greener – including the replacement of old appliances with those carrying an Energy Star rating.
Smart kitchen features can also stop you from wasting energy needlessly, while recycled design features and those which do not emit toxins can help lower your kitchen’s carbon footprint and optimize your family’s health.