Both during and post-pandemic, many homeowners found themselves spending their time improving their homes as their next big project, with one main area being the kitchen. For many households, the kitchen is the center of the home—a place to gather for meals, cook with family, and have conversations—as a result, it’s also where the bulk of your energy bill comes from. With that in mind, the kitchen is a great place to start when trying to make your home more eco-friendly. Not only will these changes benefit your finances, but also your health and the environment.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your new, eco-friendly kitchen renovation:
Find an eco-friendly contractor
The first step in planning an eco-friendly kitchen renovation is to find an eco-friendly contractor. Ideally, this contractor should have experience using materials and processes that capitalize on sustainable practices as well as resource efficiency. Additionally, it’s important to go with a contractor who holds the same beliefs as you about protecting the environment from the inside out. That way, if there are any decisions that need to be made that you aren’t necessarily a part of, you know they are on the same wavelength as you. They should also be able to educate you on products or materials that align with your goals.
Opt for energy-efficient appliances
Energy-efficient appliances use technologies that are less energy-intensive to minimize the amount of electricity that is used per appliance. Consider upgrading appliances such as your refrigerator, dishwasher, induction range tops, or convection ovens to save on electricity. Another option is to swap out the sink’s plumbing and opt for a low-flow faucet to help reduce your water usage.
As you invest in these appliances to reduce your home’s energy demand, it might be a good idea to research home warranty companies and purchase a plan that best suits your needs in case one, or more, of your appliances, needs repairs down the road. Renovating your kitchen is a huge investment, so taking the extra precaution of getting a home warranty is extremely beneficial. Should anything break down in the future, your warranty provider would help you with tasks such as finding a repair person or even covering the replacement costs of these critical systems.
The next step in preparing for your eco-friendly kitchen renovation is thinking about the materials you’re using. Nowadays there are numerous types of materials that can be used for countertops. Granite, which is a non-renewable resource, can give off gas radon if not sealed properly. Instead, opt for more sustainable countertop options such as quartz or nonporous stone. Similarly, when choosing new flooring, consider using bamboo or sustainable cork, or simply refinishing wood that’s already there instead of installing new hardwood flooring. When in doubt, look for materials that contain recycled glass, paper, or cork as it’s typically a better, environmentally friendly option.
Rethinking the materials you’re using is an impactful way to protect the planet. Eco-friendly materials used in the kitchen are often reusable, more durable, and less toxic, all of which are extremely beneficial to both the environment as well as our long-term health.
Improve air quality
The most common things kitchen renovators often prioritize are cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring. However, when trying to make your renovation as eco-friendly as possible, it’s easy to forget about improving the air quality. Proper ventilation and airflow are essential to improving the air quality in the home. When renovating the kitchen, be sure to include a vent hood (and use it!), as the kitchen is a hub for air pollution.
Another great option is to purchase air purifiers for your home and place one in the kitchen or eating area. Air purifiers will help reduce health issues by refreshing stale air and removing indoor air pollutants. A recent study showed that indoor air can be five times as polluted as outdoor air. All the more reason to make this eco-friendly upgrade during the kitchen renovation process.
Planning to renovate your kitchen in an eco-friendly manner can be overwhelming at first. However, with the right contractor and a little research, you will be on your way to an environmentally friendly and sustainable kitchen. Who knows, maybe this will inspire you to continue this trend in other areas of your home!