Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kitchen With A Conscience

Give your kitchen a green makeover with these eco-friendly tips. If doing everything all at once is too much, try replacing one or two of your appliances with these green items and gradually work your way towards a green kitchen.

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Creating a Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design?

Kitchen renovations can be more eco-friendly with just some additional planning. Appliances can be selected that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Energy Star program that use 10-50 percent less energy and water than standard models. By doing this is should be possible to able to reduce the kitchen’s energy costs. Other ways to create a green or eco-friendly kitchen design can include use of improved insulation and installing thermally efficient doors and windows.

Energy-Efficient Stove Cooktops
One element of an eco-friendly kitchen design that needs to be considered is the use of energy-efficient stove cooktops. These cooktops are available in many varieties. A cooktop that is both energy-efficient and that will also one's culinary needs must be selected. There are two kinds of stove cooktops, gas and electric. Many professional and gourmet cooks have always preferred the use of gas ranges over electric ranges because of the ease of use and control they offer. For many green kitchen design experts the electric cooktop is more eco-friendly in the long run. However for many of the cooks who must have a gas cooktop they can simply select a more energy-efficient gas cooktop with the lowest BTU.

Induction stove tops are considered to be the latest in technology. They use electricity to produce an electromagnetic energy that transfers the heat to the pots and pans. The cookware and the food gets hot, but the stove-top doesn’t. Less heat is wasted and the food heats up faster, helping to save time and energy. Induction cooking is considered to be about 90 percent energy efficient when compared to gas and electric radiant, that are 50 to 60 percent efficient. The problem could be that this might be the most expensive choice. Metal cookware must be used like cast iron, stainless steel or enamel, but not glass or aluminum.

Use Eco-Friendly Flooring Materials
The use of flooring materials that are manufactured from rapidly renewing forests can provide your kitchen with a beautiful, affordable, durable, and eco-friendly floor. Bamboo, cork, and eucalyptus reach maturity in about half the time that is usually required for more traditional hardwoods like pine or oak, making it a more sustainable product than traditional hardwoods.

For instance bamboo is a popular choice of many kitchen design professionals because it is so durable, and is just as dent resistant as hardwood floors. Using cork for kitchen flooring can provide a comfortable cushioned feel underfoot. Cork is a renewable resource that comes from the bark of trees. It has good sound-absorbing qualities, is hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew, all of which makes cork an good choice for kitchens.

Lighting Ideas for Eco-Friendly Kitchens
Most kitchen designs often will have two or three light settings such as general, task lighting, and mood lighting. Try to maximize natural light wherever possible and low voltage systems for task and mood lighting. To help reduce your kitchen lighting costs, you might want to consider using fluorescents. They cut energy use by 50 percent.