They say that to lower your golf score, start on the green and improve your putting, because that’s where most wasted strokes happen.
And I say, to improve your home’s overall green profile, start in the kitchen, because that’s where most wasted energy happens.
The U.S. Department of Energy says that 41.5 percent of a home’s energy is consumed by lighting, refrigeration and cooking. Add in other kitchen energy needs – such as water heating, space heating and cooling, special ventilation, dishwashers, small appliances, ice makers, garbage disposals – and it’s easy to see how savvy energy and environmental impact management creates not just a healthy, efficient and sustainable “green” kitchen, but more folding “green” – i.e., cash – too.
Home improvement professionals provide front-to-back advice on the possibilities and equations for “greening up” an existing kitchen. Certainly, appliances with the “Energy Star” seal are a great place to start, but a truly green kitchen improvement project has countless subtle components built in.
For example, natural light is good, but if the windows leak air or the skylights leak water, that’s not energy or functionally efficient. Low-flow faucets are good, but how far is the plumbing run from the water heater to the faucet? Closer is better. Low energy lights are good, but if you cannot see, say, to dice an onion with a sharp knife, then the result could leave you in stitches … literally.
Bamboo and cork are waterproof, comfortable and enviro-friendly flooring materials, but they have a premium initial cost. Natural stone countertops are beautiful, but depending on type and source, some are “greener” than others.
Induction cooking ranges, exterior wall insulation, timers on electrical switches, green food waste disposal, built-in recycle systems and many more thoughtful strategies not only make a green kitchen par with the environment but also a stroke of financial genius.