Are you ready to upgrade your kitchen? The return on investment for this area of the home averages between 70 and 80 percent. So updating this room could substantially increase the value of your home if you plan to sell it.
Even if you plan to stay in your home for years to come, it would be a good idea to incorporate eco-friendly updates. These changes will reduce your carbon footprint on the planet and save money on your energy bills and help you make your home healthier for you and your family. Whether you want to do a whole kitchen renovation or incorporate a few small but meaningful tweaks, these are some green home inspiration ideas to help you create a more sustainable kitchen.
Swap Out Light Bulbs
One easy way to make a big impact is to start with your kitchen lighting and substitute LED bulbs for your incandescent light bulbs. Although incandescent bulbs are much cheaper than LED bulbs, they end up costing homeowners more in the long run.
While LED bulbs give off heat, they do not produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs or use as much electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs use “75 percent less energy and last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting.” This can help a homeowner save about $1,000 over a 10-year period. Another important thing to note: As part of the Biden administration’s climate initiatives, incandescent light bulbs will begin to be phased out of manufacturing and sale by July 2023.
Replace Your Gas Stove With an Electric One
Gas stoves may have better cooking control, allowing you to prepare plenty of delicious dishes, but they may not be as eco-friendly as once thought. Gas stoves may leak methane from them, even when they are turned off. They also contribute to indoor air pollution, possibly linked to childhood asthma. A much safer and environmentally friendly option is to install an electric stove.
Change Your Faucet
If you are looking for other little ways to go green without a major overhaul, consider upgrading your kitchen faucet. A lot of waste in the home is due to excess water use. Opting for a touchless kitchen faucet can reduce the amount of water used. Also called a smart faucet, this type of faucet is motion sensor- or voice-controlled to automatically turn on and off so you’ll never accidentally leave the water running if you get distracted by a dish burning on the stove or if your child forgets to shut off the faucet.
Because there’s also no need to physically touch any handles, installing one will limit the spread of bacteria and germs when handwashing. It’s important to keep in mind that a touchless faucet requires a power source, either from batteries or an AC transformer, to work. When shopping for one, look for a water flow rate that will give you a gauge of the gallons per minute (GPM). Since the maximum flow rate is 2.2 GPM, you’ll want to choose one that is much lower for the most water efficiency.
Choose a Sustainable Countertop Material
Non-renewable countertops aren’t only bad for the environment but can also potentially harbor harmful chemicals within them. But you have many options for kitchen countertops that are easier on the planet. If you like the look of wood, try bamboo, which grows rapidly, so it is a good renewable resource, or reclaimed wood, which is lumber that has been salvaged from barns and other buildings.
Popular countertop materials like marble, granite, or quartz can have a troublesome mining process, and the labor of transporting them requires a lot of energy (and, therefore, a lot of carbon emissions). To lessen the impact, you may want to either seek out a stone that was mined locally or consider more sustainable alternatives, such as recycled glass, composite paper, or stainless steel. Or you always have the option to look for any secondhand material you like and give it a new life in your home.
Install Sustainable Flooring
If you want to convert your kitchen to an eco-friendly one, look no further than right beneath your feet. Bamboo flooring and cork flooring are excellent green options since they both grow relatively quickly, so they are a great renewable resource. Because reusing is always good for the environment, you may want to also think about salvaged materials like recycled tile or reclaimed wood. And don’t discredit linoleum flooring. It may have gotten a bad rap over the years, but this material—comprised of things like linseed oil, cork dust, pine resin, ground limestone, and jute—is a surprisingly eco choice.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
You may want to consider converting your kitchen appliances to energy-efficient ones when you can. Appliances with the Energy Star rating are government-backed, energy-efficient appliances tested to ensure that they save consumers money and help protect the environment.
For instance, an Energy Star-certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and can save about 3,800 gallons of water over its lifetime. In addition to investing in big-ticket items, like a new oven or refrigerator, be sure also to consider smaller energy-efficient appliances such as microwaves and coffee makers. And to keep your fridge running efficiently, be good about cleaning the condenser coil regularly to ensure it is always running at its optimal level.
Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets
Most of the cabinets removed from homes during a renovation end up in a landfill. To prevent your kitchen cabinets from adding to landfill waste, it is a good idea to paint your kitchen cabinets. This will give your kitchen the fresh look you want at a fraction of the cost of replacing cabinets. Painting your cabinets could cost around $100. So not only is this easy on the environment, but it’s also easy on your wallet.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
You probably already have adopted a recycling area in your home for organizing recyclable materials such as aluminum, glass, and plastic. But if you are looking to support a greener lifestyle for your family, there are other things you can think about recycling, too. For instance, you can consider collecting food waste in a kitchen compost bin.
Not only do compost bins keep food out of landfills, but they will also help enrich the soil. If you don’t have your own garden, many large cities and local farmer’s markets will accept food waste for composting. Don’t forget about reusing. Old glass jars from tomato sauce, for example, can make for great pantry storage containers for dry beans or rice once you peel off the label. And you want to switch to reusable dishcloths to avoid the waste of paper towels.