Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the need to incorporate sustainable practices and features into their daily lives. If you’re concerned about the impact your home is having on the environment, it’s time to discover ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make your living space more environmentally friendly. When it comes to home renovation, overhauling the kitchen continues to be a popular project. The kitchen is the heart of the home for most families, and learning the ways to implement green features and practices into this room can pay dividends. A truly green kitchen offers healthy living opportunities that enable you and your family to save energy and benefit the environment.
Pay Attention to Air Quality
A proper ventilation system is integral to a green kitchen. The right ventilation features can reduce exposure to pollutants and improve air quality. Ventilation isn’t the only factor that affects your kitchen’s air—consider your walls. Paint products that contain VOCs can cause major health issues down the road. Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that release into the air when at room temperature. Exposure to VOCs can cause long-term health issues. While VOC-free paint can be a bit more expensive, the investment is more than worth it to decrease the toxins in your family’s breathing air in the kitchen.
If you hand wash your dishes, it’s easy to waste water and it’s important to make efforts to control the amount of water you’re using, and one of the easiest ways to do so without changing your own habits is to install sensor faucets. Think about it next time you’re elbows deeps in dish soap suds—turning off the water when your two hands are busy juggling plates and scrubbing off food can be a difficult task. Hands free faucets make it easy, allowing you to turn the tap on and off without dealing with levers and knobs enabling you to cut down on water waste. As an added bonus, hands free faucets have also been observed to cut down on the spread of germs and bacteria.
Invest in High-Quality Storage
When it comes to food storage, it’s time to throw away that Tupperware, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap; while convenient, these storage options are extremely wasteful. Instead, upgrade to some high-quality, long lasting storage solutions. Invest in Pyrex containers that keep your food fresh and store your leftovers with no waste.
Learn How to Compost
Americans waste a great deal of food each year—a mind-blowing 35 million tons of food are thrown away each year, totaling a cost of $165 billion in waste. Learning how to repurpose and recycle food scraps is key, and most homeowners do so through composting efforts. Setting up a composting bin is simple, and while the actual composting habit does take time and patience to master, there’s plenty of ways to simplify your at-home compost efforts. There are plenty of indoor compact composters available, and outdoor versions for homeowners with plenty of backyard space. Spread your compost through the front and backyards for enriched soil and healthy plants, and watch the fruits of your labor literally bloom right before your eyes.
Most homeowners will likely find at least one piece of Teflon cookware in their kitchen, but this modern convenience has been linked to cancer and high cholesterol. The chemicals released from these pots and pans at high emperatures have been observed to kill birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Don’t go the easy route; stick to cast iron, glass, and stainless steel cookware to keep your loved ones healthy and safe. Check out Green Pan cookware. Their ceramic pans are nonstick; even when overheated, their advanced design prevents the release of toxic fumes so commonly found within other cookware options.
An Energy Overhaul
In order to make a significant impact on your energy usage and carbon footprint, larger investments are necessary. If you’ve ever considered making the switch to solar energy, now is the time to invest. There are currently numerous government incentives and tax breaks available to homeowners that install this renewable form of energy in their homes, and these won’t last forever. If cost is your foremost concern, keep in mind that there are plenty of financing options for solar panels that make affording this home improvement project more doable than ever before. Consider PACE financing through a company like Renovate America and you’ll be well on your way to renewable energy upgrades in no time. Imagine powering your cooking processes through energy you’ve harnessed through the sun—that’s the true modern American dream.
If you’re looking for ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly, consider these features and implement new habits to conserve our world’s precious resources.