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  • Interview By Mari Morales

Designer Roundtable - GREEN BY DESIGN

Incorporating Eco-Friendly Features into Your Kitchen Remodel

Greener Kitchen Design

Interviewed by Mari Morales

Designers: Ashley Christensen, Jacqueline Durant, Tricia Turk, Vicky Petrauskas

1. If someone was looking for a “greener” kitchen design, what is a must-have?

Vickie Petrauskas: Energy star appliances are a must have to help reduce energy and water use in your home. Home automation systems also help to connect the various systems in your home and can be a helpful tool in monitoring your energy usage.

Tricia Turk: Solid wood cabinets are the first and best option for a greener kitchen. Always look for GREENGUARD Gold Certification on the cabinetry to ensure there is no harmful off gassing and low to no VOCs.

Jacqueline Durant: Induction cooktops are at the top of everyone’s list when designing a sustainable kitchen. Not only can induction cooktops and ranges save energy, but they offer a cleaner carbon footprint. They work by transferring heat directly to your cookware, instead of heating the surface of your cooktop. This allows you to waste less energy while cooking and your pot is heated quickly and evenly.

Ashey Christensen: Utilizing materials that already exist is, in my book, the number one way to bring a greener outlook to your space. Our landfills are full of discarded building materials, but if you’re able to give an item a second life that’s one less discarded piece. It could be a gorgeous vintage sink, a reclaimed wood counter for your island, or a salvaged antique cabinet full of character. These pieces are often crafted from higher quality materials and can become the show stopping moment in your kitchen, so they’re worth the hunt!

2. Are there any technological upgrades someone can put in their kitchen that would help save energy or reduce water waste?

V.P.: Energy star rated products will greatly help save on energy and water usage. There are also so many great eco-friendly options for your kitchen, like induction cooktops or electric coils. If you prefer to cook with gas, research appliances that have a low BTU output. The lower the output, the more energy efficient the product is! New touchless faucets are also engineered with auto-shutoff features that keep your faucets from running.

T.T.: Technology in the appliance industry has seen some major advances and it’s very exciting. Dishwashers that can be programmed to wash only sections of the dishwasher thus saving on water and energy. Refrigerators with proper cooling and humidity will reduce food waste. Homeowners, one by one, are seeing the advantage of induction cooktops and are making the switch with ease.

J.D.: There are so many smart kitchen appliances that offer great energy savings. Smart ovens, cooktops and microwaves have built-in sensors and pre-programmed cooking settings. These features result in more precise cooking times and temperatures, reducing energy waste caused by overcooking or exposure to high temperatures for extended periods. Also, with the help of smartphone applications or voice assistants, smart kitchen appliances can be controlled and scheduled remotely. This allows users to turn off or adjust appliance settings even when they are not at home, minimizing unnecessary energy consumption.

A.C.: I’m a big fan of induction cooking for lots of reasons, but its impact on the health of your home and lowering your carbon footprint are big perks! Modern dishwashers do an amazing job of reducing water waste. Updating your dishwasher can save gallons of water per wash and be more energy efficient.

3. What are some high-quality, sustainable materials for the kitchen?

V.P.: Natural fabrics like organic cotton, sustainable/recycled wood, bamboo, cork, recycled tile, fluorescent or LED lights and low VOC paints are great materials to incorporate into a greener kitchen. You can also lower your waste by using reusable materials to store your food.

T.T.: Luxury sustainable materials can be found in beautiful countertops and full backsplashes in many new materials that blend recyclable materials. One in particular is a Sintered Stone from Lapitec. This is an all natural product made from minerals but offers many benefits, such as preventing the spread of germs and microbes, resistance to high heat, scratches and stains. It also has full-body through color.

J.D.: There are a number of high quality sustainable materials that can easily be incorporated into any new kitchen remodel. MDF cabinets are a great option, due to the fact that they are composed of wood fibers, shavings and other materials that would normally go into the landfill. Recycled glass countertops are a fun look that is achieved by recycling glass into bright funky designs. We’ve also seen some amazing countertops made out of reclaimed wood. They can offer a really unique look while also repurposing something to give it a new life.

A.C.: Tile is my all-time favorite material and there are amazing options that are being manufactured sustainably using recycled materials like clay. Looking for manufacturers in the US is also a great option when we’re trying to be kinder to our planet since there’s less pollution created when products don’t have to travel the globe.

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