Interior Design & Flooring

Design a sustainable kitchen

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 09:28

If you're a homeowner who is looking to improve the sustainability of your property, one of the first places to consider revamping is the kitchen. As a primary space in any home, this room has considerable potential for wasting energy and resources if not properly outfitted. The Kitchen Stewardship reported that 26 percent of the energy used on "food" in America is used by the average person for home food preparation. The U.S. Department of Energy states that lighting, refrigeration and cooking are responsible for 41.5 percent of a home's energy consumption. 
Such a hot bed of energy consumption can be effectively designed to improve sustainability. By investing in the right technologies and materials, it's highly possible to reduce the cost of operating this portion of a home. Here are a few of the options you may want to consider:
1) Light emitting diodes. LED bulbs are an effective way to reduce the cost of illuminating a kitchen. Switching to this energy-efficient technology will help a homeowner reduce the cost of lighting by up to 75 percent compared to incandescent bulbs. The bulbs not only use less energy to create the same amount or better quality of light, but they also last longer. A LED bulb will last 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent options and 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescent options. This reduces operating expenses associated with the technology and helps homeowners limit the hassle of replacing bulbs. Because incandescent and fluorescent bulbs create heat when used, air conditioning units have to work harder and use more energy to combat the warmth. LED bulbs produce significantly less heat when they are on, which means that air conditioning units are less taxed. 
2) Recycled countertops. If you're looking for style and sustainability, there are more than a few countertop options available on the market. MSN reported that Squak Mountain Stone is an alternative to quarry stone for those who want to decrease the carbon footprint associated with mining and shipping materials. The slabs are made from fly ash, post-industrial crushed glass and low-carbon cement. This means that 50 percent of the materials used in the production of this countertop are recycled and a third less carbon dioxide is produced during manufacturing.
3) Radiant floor heating. Heating a home, even the kitchen, takes a considerable amount of energy. Popular design choices like an open-concept kitchen and living area and cathedral ceilings all add to energy consumption. To reduce the cost of heating a home, you can invest in a technology that won't negatively impact the comfort felt in a kitchen, while still promoting greater energy efficiency. Because the warmth is delivered through the floors consistently through the power of conduction and continues to radiate out from everything the floors come in contact with thanks to thermal qualities, the system is more effective at heating a space than forced hot air. The technology also allows for greater cleanliness in the kitchen. As a food preparation area, it's not uncommon for food or liquids to fall from counters, and if heat is applied to a room with vents, baseboard units or radiators, those potential perishables could get stuck and make a mess. Radiant floor heating doesn't have any available cracks or crevices in the kitchen that will allow this to happen. 
You can outfit a new home or renovate an older property to include these and other sustainable materials and technologies in a kitchen.