5 design tips for sustainable kitchens
Many of us are making a conscious effort to live greener lives and tweak our homes to be more friendly to the environment. In the kitchen we can prepare and dispose of food in energy-efficient ways, avoid toxic cleaning materials and chemicals, and switch our appliances off at the wall when they aren’t being used. This is all great news, but what can we do about the actual design of our kitchens?
Kitchen renovations are now more popular than ever, and if everyone approached these renovations with sustainability in mind then the environmental impact would be huge! Whether you’re simply renovating your kitchen or building one from scratch, it’s always important to think about sustainability and environmental impact at the design stage. In this post, we’re going to share some of our best design tips for eco-friendly kitchens. Ultimately, achieving sufficiency involves a mixture of functionality, quality, accessibility and durability.
Using materials from eco-friendly sources when designing your new kitchen is one of the best ways to maximise sustainability. If you’re looking to install new countertops or cabinets, consider using materials repurposed from previous uses or materials certified by sustainable organisations. Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean having a slightly eccentric kitchen built from stacks of rubber tyres and lager cans – you can still use sustainable materials without compromising your desired aesthetic.
For instance, reclaimed wood is a nice way to give traditional kitchen designs a more weathered look, recycled glass can make for a perfect countertop in more urban kitchens, while bamboo (one of the most sustainable materials on the planet) gives a light and airy feel to the room.
Almost half of the energy used in the home is for lighting and temperature control, so optimising natural light in your kitchen will go a long way towards reducing consumption. Adding skylights and large windows to your space will remove the need for artificial light during the day, not to mention provide extra ventilation during those hot summer months.
There are of course aesthetic benefits too. A kitchen flooded with sunlight looks fresh and homely, and in smaller kitchens a skylight helps make the space look larger. If you’re not designing your kitchen from scratch and if bringing natural light into your kitchen would be a huge hassle, consider installing some LED or CFL light bulbs instead. Not only are they better for the planet, but they’ll take a chunk out of your energy bills as well.
One important aspect of sustainable kitchen design is improving the overall efficiency of your space and avoiding excess. A smaller kitchen uses up a lot less energy on a day-to-day basis and requires fewer materials in its construction, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.
Many kitchens employ smart designs with efficient storage solutions and integrated appliances. Such designs also require you to be more resourceful with your appliances and utensils: this means finally replacing your arsenal of scratched-up pans with more sustainable cookware made from eco-friendly materials like cast iron.
Energy efficient kitchen appliances are very much on the rise in our homes, not only because they save a lot of energy but also because they can save you a lot of money! When designing your kitchen and choosing your appliances, pay close attention to the long term energy and water performance of dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens and microwaves.
The most sustainable kitchens have water-preserving taps and electric cookers, and don’t have any unnecessary gadgets. So it might be worth asking yourself some questions when you’re working out your inventory, such as: “do I really need an ultra high-power super juicer?” Probably not.
25% of people don’t recycle because “it’s not accessible or convenient”, while for 10% of people it “takes up too much time”. A kitchen where such recycling is made easy and accessible will promote and improve waste-reduction within your household, which is especially important if you happen to live with anyone who uses either of these excuses. You can make composting and recycling an integral part of your kitchen by incorporating special containers or drawers into your design.
At Burnhill Kitchens we work with suppliers who are committed to using the best of sustainable practices and materials. If you need help designing your new kitchen with sustainability in mind, get in touch with a member of our team and we will be more than happy to help.