Sustainable kitchen remodeling is the process of renovating an existing kitchen to be more energy-efficient while utilizing renewable materials. The world is becoming more and more aware of the impending climate crisis, and as such, sustainable kitchen remodeling is becoming a very popular approach.
“Going green” during your next kitchen remodel stands to pay dividends in long-term energy savings. Sustainability in a kitchen is also a very sought-after feature, making this an ideal renovation for prospective home sellers. Ultimately, though, a sustainable kitchen remodel is better for everyone on the planet.
This article is going to delve into the various aspects of a sustainable kitchen remodel. At the USA Cabinet Store, we are capable of meeting all of your cabinetry and kitchen remodeling needs. If you’re looking to make the move toward a more sustainable kitchen, please contact us today for a free design quote.
Choosing Sustainable Cabinets
Taking an eco-friendly approach for your new kitchen means that you will need to seek cabinetry that is created from renewable materials whenever possible. However, even more “green” savings can be found, here.
For instance, you may choose to refinish or repaint your kitchen cabinets. This would circumvent the need to purchase new cabinetry all together without adding more materials. By refinishing your cabinets, there are even more energy savings totally.
For example, there won’t be a fuel expenditure involved in transporting the cabinets from a manufacturer to your home. There also wouldn’t be energy expenditures from the power equipment used to install new cabinets. Lastly, there would be carbon emission savings from transporting the old cabinets to a recycling facility.
As you can see, the energy supply chain extends quite far in kitchen remodeling. This is why it is important to speak with experts in kitchen cabinetry, like our specialists at the USA Cabinet Store.
It’s worth noting that you can certainly achieve an eco-friendly kitchen remodel while still installing new cabinets. In fact, there are plenty of manufacturers available who are certified to produce cabinetry from recycled or renewable materials. Our experts at the USA Cabinet Store will help you find the right cabinets to fit your sustainable kitchen remodel.
Choosing Sustainable Countertops
Countertops offer an area of significant energy savings. You may want a luxurious countertop material like granite for your new kitchen – but granite is not necessarily the greenest countertop material. In fact, granite requires mining, manufacturing, and significant transportation emissions due to it’s heavyweight.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great alternatives. For example, there is a popular material called engineered quartz that is geared toward a more eco-friendly remodel. Engineered quartz is a manufactured stone made of resin and quartz. It is actually much harder and less permeable than granite. It is also comparable in cost and very easy to maintain. Since engineered quartz doesn’t need to be mined and transported long distances, it requires less energy to produce.
However, there are even better materials more suitable for green savings. Ultimately, nothing is as eco-friendly as recycled countertop materials. By circumventing the need to quarry and deplete the earth of it’s natural resources, recyclable countertops are incredibly energy efficient.
Let’s take a look at a few sustainable countertop alternatives:
Bamboo, Wood, or Reclaimed Wood
Wooden countertops make a for a rustic, warm atmosphere in any kitchen. Traditionally, butcher block countertops are the material of choice for homeowners looking for wooden counters. However, there are much greener alternatives available for eco-friendly renovators.
Bamboo is an incredibly strong rapidly renewable resource. Due to it’s speed of growth and low environmental impact, bamboo countertops are the perfect addition for a sustainable kitchen. Bamboo can be layered, solidified, or cross-patched to create unique designs.
However, there is no wood countertop material more green than reclaimed wood. Given the name, reclaimed wood is simply wood taken from a structure or product that has been re-purposed for new uses. Reclaimed wood could come from old barns, fences, or storage crates. To be sure that your wood is actually reclaimed, we recommend asking about the Forest Stewardship Council certification.
Lastly, if possible, consider utilizing wood natural to your local area. By using wood harvested from your local area, you will significantly reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding long traveling distances from the manufacturer to your home.
Recycled Glass Slabs or Tiles
Instead of purchasing natural stone for your new kitchen countertops, consider utilizing recycled glass materials instead. Glass slabs or even glass tiles offer a great eco-friendly alternative for your next kitchen remodel.
The usual choice of material for countertop slabs is granite or marble, and the usual choice of material for kitchen tiles is ceramic. Granite quarries from the natural resources of our planet, while ceramic manufacturing outputs a tremendous amount of energy. Thankfully, recycled glass offers a sustainable alternative.
Glass tiles make for beautiful backsplashes – and they are incredibly sustainable when made from recycled materials. Glass is one of the most plentiful waste byproducts, making it a very budget-friendly alternative as well.
For those seeking to create a sustainable kitchen on a budget, paper composite countertops are a perfect alternative to expensive, environmentally-damaging materials. Laminate is the chief choice of renovators seeking to remodel their kitchen on a budget. However, laminate is made of resins that contain formaldehyde – a very toxic material.
In fact, that formaldehyde even has the ability to produce toxic gasses in your home. Fortunately, you are already familiar with how eco-friendly recycled paper is. Paper is one of the most recycled materials on the planet, and we’ve found incredible ways to create sustainable kitchen products with it to replace cheaper options.
By injecting post-consumer paper that has been ethically recycled with a small amount of resin, a durable countertop material is created. Paper composite countertops are waterproof, heat-resistant, and make for a super budget-friendly alternative.
Some homeowners want their countertops – or at least parts of their countertops – reflective of commercial kitchens. Metal countertops are traditionally produced with stainless steel. Stainless steel has the potential to be a sustainable material if it is created with post-consumer materials.
However, an even greener alternative is recycled aluminum. Currently, 70% of all the aluminum ever produced is still cycling through our planet in recycled products.
Additionally, aluminum is an incredibly strong, durable metal ideal for heavy culinary practices due to its ease of cleaning. This why most commercial kitchens utilize metal for their choice material of countertops. If you’re looking for that “iron chef” appeal, we strongly recommend recycled aluminum.
Choosing Sustainable Flooring
Another area of your kitchen remodel that stands to see significant energy savings is your kitchen floor. We’ve already covered some of the incredible recycled materials available for your remodel, above. Budget-friendly kitchen tiles are available in a variety of post-consumer materials like recycled ceramics or glass.
However, for those looking for a gorgeous, warm kitchen atmosphere, wooden flooring can’t be beaten. Fortunately, any kitchen material made from wood has the potential to go green. Simply seek out recycled wood panels for your next kitchen remodel to move toward a more sustainable kitchen.
During your floor replacement, you can create an even more energy-efficient solution by requesting additional floor insulation. For example, did you know that the floors are sometimes the least insulated areas in modern homes?
No one wants to walk on a cold floor. Besides, that lack of insulation adds to heating costs and the resulting energy consumption. Ask our experts at the USA Cabinet Store about installing potential floor insulation during your sustainable kitchen remodel.
Choosing Sustainable Kitchen Appliances
Lastly, your kitchen appliances offer some incredible and immediate energy-saving returns. If you are looking to create a sustainable kitchen, but don’t have the budget to undergo a complete renovation, we highly recommend first starting with your appliances. After all, these are the largest points of energy expenditures in the kitchen.
When looking at refrigerators, we recommend seeking one that meets the “Energy Star” standard – as these fridges are approximately 10% more efficient than their alternatives. Not only could this result in $300 of utility costs over the lifespan of the fridge, but it will also significantly decrease the carbon footprint of your kitchen.
Dishwashers offer an additional area of energy reduction. Old dishwashers can waste up to 10 gallons each cycle. This is simply wasteful. Energy-star certified dishwashers can function phenomenally while using less than 3.5 gallon of water per cycle. This equates to over $100 of savings in water bills per year.
Additionally, we should note that hand-washing your dishes is incredibly inefficient. Some people believe that hand-washing reduces the energy required to clean the dishes, but this is simply not the case. Hand washing can result in over $1,300 more in energy and water bills over the lifespan of a dishwasher. If you have the choice, always opt for a modern, Energy-star certified dishwasher.
Contact Us Today for Your Sustainable Kitchen Remodel
Ultimately, you’ll need to speak with an experienced kitchen renovation expert to determine the right path forward for your sustainable kitchen remodel. Please don’t hesitate to utilize our free design quote services for a basic overview of the costs associated with such a project. Our kitchen specialists at the USA Cabinet Store are waiting on standby to help you.