Your kitchen likely receives some of the most foot traffic in your home. Just think about all the activities that take place there and how often it’s occupied. There’s no wonder why the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms to renovate, especially with remodeling and home construction on the rise.
If you’re making improvements to your kitchen, a great opportunity to build with sustainability in mind exists in a big way. Living green doesn’t have to end with simple energy conservation and efficient appliances. Check out this infographic on building the ultimate sustainable kitchen from CustomMade.com for some great ideas.
Building the Ultimate Sustainable Kitchen
The Environmental Impact of Construction & Renovation
Construction, renovation, demolition, and building operation account for roughly 72% of electricity use in the U.S. and 39% of the nation’s total energy consumption.
Retrofitting just 1% of American homes with water-efficient fixtures could offset 80,000 tons pf greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the same as removing 15,000 cars from our roads for a whole year!
Construction and demolition generate 26% of the total non-industrial waste in the U.S.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects are responsible for diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills. That number is expected to grow to 540 million tons by 2030.
The average household spends 50% of its total energy on heating, 27% on running appliances, and another 19% to heat water.
8 Simple Ways to Green Your kitchen
1) Swap Plastic Cutting Boards for Wood - Wood, especially maple and close-grained hardwoods, has natural antibacterial properties. And unlink plastic, wood is a renewable resource.
2) Fill the Dishwasher - If you use a dishwasher, skip pre-rinsing and run full loads. If you wash your dishes by hand, fill the sink with a few inches of soapy water and try to minimize running the faucet.
3) Get Some Houseplants - Houseplants help remove volatile organic compounds, like formaldehyde and mercury vapor, from the air. Just be sure to use non-plastic pots and NO pesticides for your indoor plants.
4) Cook with Healthy Cookware - Teflon pots and pans release trace amounts of 15 different gases and particles, including some proven toxins and carcinogens. Additionally, Teflon fumes can kill birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Stick with stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead.
5) Store Leftovers in Glass - BPA isn’t the only chemical hiding in your plastic food containers. Many other chemicals found in plastic have been shown to leach and be unsafe for humans. Invest in glass storage containers (Mason jars are an affordable and trendy option) as a alternative to plastic.
6) Eliminate Food Waste - Americans throw away about 40% of the food we produce. That’s about 1,400 calories worth per person, per day! To avoid wasting food, label a cardboard box with “Eat Me First!” and put it front and center in your fridge. Put foods that will expire soon inside to remind family members to select them before reaching for something else. Keeping & freezing vegetable scraps for soup stock is another great way to cut down on food waste.
7) Keep Your Fridge Full - The fridge can be an energy hog, but a simple way to keep it running efficiently is to make sure it’s adequately stocked. Simple tricks like filling empty spaces with jugs of water, cooling leftovers before putting them away, and keeping your food covered will keep your energy-efficient.
8) Use Green Cleaners - Many commericial cleaning products are chock-full of nasty chemicals that you’d probaly want nowhere near your food or cooking surfaces. Even cleaning products labeled “green” or “non-toxic” can contain harsh ingredients. Your best bet is to opt for DIY cleaning solutions, and lucky there’s no shortage of recipes and resources online to get you started!