The kitchen is the major working area of a home and the primary source of water and power consumption. Regardless of the style or size of your home, there are “ecologically correct” materials as well as planning strategies which will help you obtain a healthier environment for your family.
1 – Reducing the water and power consumption should be your first step! Replacing old appliances with new ones, and reviewing their sizes to meet your household demand, will save you money and natural resources.
2 – Illumination is responsible for from 5% – 10% of the total energy utilized in an American home. Cooking and prepping areas placed near windows or skylights, will save you Dollars on your electrical bill. Task lights, specific lightning used to illuminate working areas, placed on per-area switches, and better, dimmed, economically complement your kitchen illumination.
3 – The quality of the air and ventilation in the environment are important issues when we talk about health. Good ventilation helps to remove the humidity in the air. Sealing your windows using materials of low VOC (volatile organic components) helps to maintain a better internal quality of the air and controls ventilation in the kitchen, avoid the presence of mold, which grows in humid areas and causes respiratory problems and prevents leakage of hydraulic pipes.
4 – The installation of exhaust hoods, especially if venting to the exterior, will remove the grease and gases from the area and improve the air quality.
5 – Lead is still common in potable water, in spite of the regulations otherwise. Lead severely affects children, delaying their physical or mental development, and may cause kidney problems or high blood pressure in adults. Until 1930, lead pipes were used in hydraulic installations. Today, lead is still used in welds. When replacing your pipeline, use copper or PVC pipes. Copper is always preferable over plastic, from the environmental point of view, since plastics are derived from petroleum, and are very difficult to recycle. Avoid faucets and connections made of brass that may release lead.
6 – Water filters remove various components harmful to your health, and it is without a doubt, one of the most important and easy improvements to your kitchen.
7 – Finishing materials must be chosen, taking in consideration their ease of cleaning, resistance to water leakage and anti-bacterial capacity. Regarding floors; good options are bamboo and cork floors, and ceramics made of recycled materials. Finish your walls and ceiling with low VOC paints.
8 – Countertop options are concrete; man-made tops from recycled materials; and certain types of woods or solid surfaces. Reusing old countertops, especially the ones made from stone and wood, are also an excellent idea. Natural stones, such as granite, usually are not local, and when extracted from nature, are not replaceable, which places this material into a “gray” more than “green” classification.
9 –Ceramic, glass and aluminum recycled tiles; and reclaimed hardwood and bamboo inlaid; are great greener options for backsplashes.
10 – Cabinets comply with the classification of “green” in two ways: if the factory attends to the requirements of air quality, recycling of materials and good management of work conditions; and by materials utilized in the construction of the actual cabinets. Many industries are already using materials made of recycled wood and substituting formaldehyde adhesives for water based not harmful adhesives. The use of finishing materials such as paints and stains with a low VOC are indispensable complements for green, healthier, cabinets. More and more manufactures are adhering the California Code of Regulations, which means cabinetry is becoming greener in order to be sold in all locations. This is a great improvement for everyone’s health.
Design is Everywhere will help you to create a healthy kitchen for your home.