Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Designs
If you are building a new home or renovating the kitchen in your current home there are many ways in which you can have an environmentally friendly kitchen design. Doing so will not only help the environment; happily, it also saves on costs and can even keep you healthier, when you remember that many products release toxic fumes that are known carcinogens.
Toxic building materials
If you use building materials that are both sustainable and non-toxic your kitchen – and lifestyle – will be well on the way to being a lot healthier, not to mention environmentally friendly.
Start with the kind of materials you use in the kitchen for the cupboards, the counter tops and the flooring. Many cupboards – particularly the inner parts or the back – are made from MDF or other types of materials that are bonded together using toxic glue. This glue can release fumes into the air for many months after the product has been installed in your kitchen.
It is not only the toxic glues that make some building materials bad for the environment or unsustainable, it is their growth habits. Some timber takes a very long time to grow, while others such as bamboo can be ready for harvesting in a quarter of the time and even grow back after it is cut. In addition, some timbers require a lot of water or fertilisers that then leach into the soil and the waterways. They may require pesticides and herbicides to grow well.
Sustainable building materials
Sustainable building materials grow quickly, are easy to replace and do not require a lot of water or nutrients to grow. They also don’t require a great deal of preparation such as being mixed with adhesives.
You may also be able to access recycled building materials that have another history. This can give you a kitchen that is unique, as well as be a great talking point for visitors to the home. Builders or kitchen renovators that like a challenge may be needed to change those recycled timbers into kitchen cupboards or they can be used for window frames or even skirting boards.
Other aspects of sustainability
There are many other aspects of creating an eco-friendly kitchen.
- Lighting – LED lighting is increasingly popular
- Flooring – flooring choices need to be environmentally friendly too.
- Walls and ceilings. If surfaces are to be painted, use a low voc paint that will not emit toxic fumes.
- Windows are an important part of sustainability. Tinting windows reduces glare and helps with insulation while they still let in natural light.
- Counter tops – move away from granite to engineered stone, a greener choice.
Finally, don’t throw your old kitchen away; it might be just what someone else needs. You may even save on the cost of dismantling it if its new owners come and do it for free.