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How to Make Your Kitchen Green

Sustainable Cabinets, Flooring, and Energy Efficient Kitchen Lighting Saves Money and the Planet

© 2010 by Kelly R. Smith

Photo of Kelly R. Smith

Proper choices in the kitchen will save on bills.

Proper choices in the kitchen will save on bills

This article was updated on 05/22/21.

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It goes without saying that the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in your modern home and a large amount of your time and energy is spent in this hub of the household.

However, it isn’t just your energy that is funneled to the kitchen; it's estimated that about a third of the overall amount of energy we use to fuel our homes comes from the kitchen. Consider all the appliances, lighting, and hot water.

What many green-friendly, sustainability-minded homeowners often forget, though, is that our are also filled with kitchen cabinets, work surfaces, and equipment, all of which bears the mark of a hefty carbon footprint.

That being said, there are many effective methods which can reduce the impact that your kitchen has on the environment and many of these revolve around looking at alternatives in both building material selection and lighting choices.

Are Granite Countertops Your Best Choice?

Choosing materials for worktop surfaces is a difficult prospect at any given time, with style and expense high on the list of priorities for most people, especially those hoping to design cheap kitchens rather than ones which will ruin your bank balance for the foreseeable future!

With that in mind, granite countertops, or worktops if you like, may look fantastic but the quarrying of these materials can be extremely damaging to the environment. The take-away here is if you want to go this natural stone route, do your homework and be sure your contractor sources material responsibly.

An good alternative is recycled glass. It can be buffed to provide a glossy granite look but without the cost inflicted upon either your wallet or the planet. This material is also perfect for sink backsplashes and is durable and very easy to clean.

Meanwhile, when installing new wooden cabinets in your kitchen (or even medicine cabinets in your bathroom for that matter), do a bit of research as to where the wood has been sourced from. There are many cabinet suppliers who source their materials from sustainable woodlands and forests and of course these are the most suitable for your green kitchen.

Cork and Bamboo for Sustainable Floors

Choosing more heat-retaining materials for your kitchen flooring can also help to shrink that energy bill come the end of the month. Cork is rapidly becoming an eco-friendly substitute for wooden flooring as it’s made from the bark of the tree which would normally be wasted. This material is great for retaining warmth and, crucially, won’t be affected by mildew or mould.

Bamboo is another great environmentally friendly option for flooring and would look great in an oriental style kitchen. Compared to some timbers, it’s a stronger and more durable material, which is very easy to clean. Sustainable harvesting? Did you know that timber bamboo species grow 2 to 3 feet ( 0.6 – 0.9 m) a day until they reach their maximum height?

Choose Kitchen Lighting to Save Money

Selecting kitchen lighting can also be difficult as you need to strike a balance between illuminating the entire room and purchasing concentrated task lighting like undercabinet lighting to help when preparing food.

Low voltage halogen bulbs are a great way to save on your energy bill and they can have a long lifespan. These are suitable for task lighting and look great if placed under counter tops.

Those were just some alternatives to make your kitchen green that are readily available for the eco-friendly kitchen, so that you can enjoy that cup of coffee on a morning knowing you have done your bit!

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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