For most people, kitchen and bathrooms are very important parts of a home when looking to buy or rent. And for many, kitchen is often the center of the home. Have you noticed people tend to gather around in the kitchen even if there’s plenty of other rooms to hang around in the house? Kitchen is where a lot happens, right?
Kitchen is also where we can take a big leap in “greening” our home if we ever consider remodeling. Kitchen appliances, especially the refrigerator, take up substantial portion of energy consumption for the home. As my green home guru, Marla Esser, talked about on my podcast, having “EnergyStar” appliances are critical. Refrigerators that are 10-years or older are likely sucking up a lot more energy than they should. Every time we open that fridge door, it has to work harder; hence, use more energy, to keep the content cool. Also, we should consider an induction cooktop rather than gas. Unlike the traditional electric stove tops, induction cooktops are very efficient for cooking and energy consumption.
The countertops and cabinetry are also what most people take a fair amount of consideration when remodeling or building a kitchen. Unfortunately, the shelves and doors to kitchen cabinets are often made of particleboards, which contains offgassing materials such as formaldehyde, contaminating air quality for a long period of time. Short of having a custom made cabinetry by a woodworker, there are cabinetry products with low or no-VOC increasingly available as the demand increases. This goes with the finish on the cabinets. Use water-based coating to avoid offgassing, that can affect our respiratory system. (Photo Source: Green Builder Media)
Last, but not least important, is, of course, the water usage. Kitchen is where water runs a lot next to the bathrooms, of course. In addition to being mindful not to keep the water running while washing vegetables or dishes, when choosing the faucet for the kitchen sink we should be looking for water-efficiency marked either by WaterSense or CalGreen to conserve the water usage. Especially, here in Southern California, even after a wet winter, water is a commodity to be handled with care.
One of the best resources to look for items from appliances to faucets I mentioned in this article is Elemental Green. I LOVE this site because it offers a wide range of products about making your home green including lots of “affordable” choices.