The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the entire house. Compared to other rooms, it typically has a great deal more built in. Remodeling it is one of the most expensive things you can do to a house. It also has substantial impact on the environment.
Why does it have so much impact on the environment? Because the kitchen is a workhorse of a room. It uses a lot of energy and water to keep everyone fed. A refrigerator is one of the bigger contributors to electrical usage in your typical home, in part because you can’t turn it off. It needs to be on 24/7.
Doing this room right is one of the better ways to make sure the home is eco friendly. A large part of that is choosing the right appliances.
Some modern appliances can save enough energy over the course of a year or two to pay for themselves. Getting things right from the very beginning can save money down the road by preventing the need to upgrade in the near future.
1. Start by right sizing everything.
The ideal image of the modern American home is rooted in the needs of the post World War 2 nuclear family. As the soldiers came home, the nation came together and created the modern housing industry from which was born modern suburbs. To this day, homes suited for a nuclear family with a full time mom set the standard of expectations in the American housing industry.
But since then, our demographics have diversified. On average, there are few people per house than there were in the 1950s. Lifestyles have changed and people eat out more than they used to. It may make no sense to have a kitchen outfitted as if there is a full time mom cooking from scratch every night for a large family.
This means the standard appliances can be overkill. If the space is only intended for two to three people, a three burner stove may work well in place of a four burner one and it might make sense to downsize the refrigerator as well.
2. Look for ENERGY STAR products.
These are products that have been designed to use less water and energy. You can read a lot of labels and do a lot of comparison of specs if you so desire, or you can save a lot of time and energy by only considering appliances already certified to be eco friendly. This can save time, energy and hassle and help you get the right appliances more easily.
3. Stick to the basics.
Make sure there is a refrigerator, stove and oven, but don’t feel compelled to do more than that. Built in microwaves are popular, but not necessary. Not everyone wants a microwave. It would be a shame to install something that may not even get used.
Have enough countertop space for people to install small appliances of their choosing. Let them decide if they want a microwave or a popcorn machine or some other small appliance. Most people will appreciate having some flexibility to choose as they see fit.
4. Install a grey water system.
Waste water that isn’t toilet water can be reused to water the grass, among other things. This can cut down on the water bill, as well as reduce the need for municipal water processing.
It you have seen the news here lately, water shortages are a serious problem in some parts of the world. Installing eco friendly systems is not just some abstract virtue. It can help safeguard a better future and quality of life for you.