According to some studies, up to a third of our total household energy is used in the kitchen. This is no surprise really, considering the amount of time spent preparing meals, and the energy required by appliances such as the fridge and dishwasher. The fridge itself usually sucks the most electricity of all common household appliances. With one room of the home being in constant use, and needing so much electricity to function properly, it is hard to avoid the inevitable power bill generated by the kitchen. However, there are many ways to reduce the amount of power we use. Each energy saving aspect on their own might not seem like it is having an impact, but when combined, the amount of money you can save over time might surprise you. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be doing your part for the environment, too.
Aside from saving electricity, there are a number of other components of a kitchen's design that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. From the materials you use, your lighting choices, to the way you cook and prepare your food, all can have a direct impact on the environment. To find out the smart ways you can go about being more environmentally conscious in the home, beginning in the kitchen, take a look at these tips.
One eco-conscious decision easy to overlook in a kitchen is the energy used by the stove, and the differences between electric and gas cookers. While we see energy ratings given for fridges, microwaves, and a number of other appliances, stoves are left out of the ratings list. As a general rule, gas burners use less energy than their electric counterparts, due to greater control over temperatures, and because they provide instant heat, as opposed to electric. Gas burners that are ignited by electric ignition, rather than the older, continually burning pilot light, save almost half the amount of gas. By investing in flat bottom pans, and cooking together rather than separately to the others in your household, will also make a difference in the long run.
Sustainability can be adapted to all facets of our lives, and the kitchen is no exception. Why buy brand new, if you can buy recycled? You will often save money, and be salvaging something that might otherwise go to waste. Benchtops, floors, tiling and cabinetry can now all be sourced from suppliers of recycled or reclaimed materials. This brightly coloured kitchen from the aptly named Sustainable Kitchens in Bristol, has used reclaimed British hardwoods such as Ash and Walnut for parts of the new cabinet work, and sustainable Oak for all the frames, doors and worktops. A very unique talking point of this kitchen is the bold contrast of colours, textures and materials, with the famous Ferrari yellow oven an instant eye catcher, which was sprayed in the Ferrari factory in Italy.
There is no light like natural light, so if you live in a place as sunny and temperate as South Africa, you may as well take advantage of the enviable climate and sunlight. In addition to the rear wall that opens out onto the pool and tropical gardens, Muelen Architects decided to include this bespoke glass window, in lieu of a splash back. Not only is glass just as functional for a splash back as tiles, it allows for even more natural light to enter the kitchen, doing away with the need for lights to be used during the day, in turn, saving on electricity. Of course we all cannot afford such a wonderful glassed wall for our own kitchens, but the same concept of maximising natural light can always be implemented.
Many new taps on the market can save you up to 30% on water, without sacrificing on performance or style. With a flow on effect of less demand on water heaters, energy will also be saved. If a kitchen renovation is not quite in reach, something as simple as an aerator can be attached to your current tap, setting you back just a few pounds, yet saving you much more over time. If your taps are old, an aerator can shape the water stream from the tap, prevent splashing, and even increase the water pressure.
The advantages of LED lighting are nothing new, although some of us seem to forget how easy and beneficial they really are. All it takes to save money and the environment is new LED bulbs and you're away! They also last a lot longer than regular bulbs, too. In comparison to incandescent bulbs, which last an average of 2000 hours, LED bulbs generally last around 50,000 hours; that's over 10 years of normal use!
Want to see other great kitchens on homify? Then have a read of this ideabook on white kitchens.