There’s something comforting about doing things in the kitchen.
Besides cooking and eating, it is the best place to talk, entertain guests, and even do paper work or your kids’ homework.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and it is also the most hardworking. There’s always something going on in there.
Given that it is a major activity hub, it’s fitting to build and keep up a sustainable kitchen, one that truly works for you without straining energy resources.
When it comes to cutting down energy consumption, research by the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that appliances account for two-thirds of the energy consumed by the average home.
If changes will be made to a home’s energy efficiency, it makes sense to start with the kitchen because it is usually the most appliance-heavy room in the house. A single refrigerator alone uses almost 14% of a home’s energy.
Sustainable kitchen ideas, ranging from efficient appliance use and food preparation to eliminating bad habits, are necessary if you want to cut down the bills and become a true steward of the earth at the same time.
You don’t need to be a genius eco-warrior to make a greener kitchen. It takes nothing more than regular common sense and a lot of commitment.
1. Apply Energy Sense to Appliances
Low temperature doesn’t always mean lower energy consumption.
An example is the refrigerator. Don’t set the temperature too low because for every degree below 38 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit consumes five percent more energy. Make sure to check the manual to find optimal temperature range. Make sure to clean the coils yearly for more efficient fridge pan and move it away from the wall as well as the cooking range.
Moving on to the dishwasher, run it only when full. Skip pre-rinsing as most dishwashers are powerful enough to remove food residue. Using the air dry setting will also cut down consumption.
Using the dishwasher is generally more energy-efficient than hand washing (unless we’re talking about just a single plate) especially when you follow these rules.
Of course, unplug any appliances with accessible power cords – like your coffee maker – when they’re not in use.
And lastly, reduce your carbon footprint by investing in Energy Star appliances with energy-saving features.
2. Cleaning With Conscience
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions remove stain, disinfect, eliminate smell, and make things shine.
Say goodbye to bleach, detergent, and harmful chemicals and hello to an earth-friendly kitchen.
3. Prepare With Eco-flair
If you are roasting or baking something that is not too strict, skip pre-heating as most ovens can come to temperature immediately, rendering pre-heating almost obsolete. Make wise use of the oven, too, by cooking more than one dish.
For small dishes, using the toaster oven or microwave can save energy by as much as 80%. Using pressure cookers, especially for meat, reduces cooking time. When cooking on a stove, make sure to use properly sized pans and pots so the heat is not wasted.
Buy local produce and help reduce “food miles.” Buy in bulk and cook in bulk if you can. This means fewer trips to the grocery and more efficient use of appliance energy. Just make sure your family can consume everything. Or else, you’ll end up producing too much waste, which defeats the purpose.
4. Green-novate With Design
Go green with your kitchen design from the floor to the countertops.
Flooring like linoleum and cork are earth-friendly because they are made with renewable and biodegradable materials. They are highly durable but need regular maintenance.
Kitchen cabinets made from wood products are manufactured using sustainable forest management practices.
Cabinet boxes built with wheat or straw board mean they are produced from agricultural waste. Countertops become green when they are built using recycled content like paper and bamboo fiber and manufactured using eco-friendly processes.
5. Reduce With Compost
Leftovers and food residues can be turned from waste to valuable soil by the process of composting.
There are compact composters you can use indoors if you do not have the luxury of a yard or garden. This is a good way to make good use of food scraps. This improves soil and reduces your use of fertilizer and water, even for just potted plants.
6. Greens in the Kitchen
Speaking of composting and potted plants, one way to make a greener kitchen is to put up a mini garden in your kitchen.
Herbs and simple veggies are the best for the kitchen. Need basil? Just pick.
A garden in the kitchen will not only give you fresh and tasty produce, it also helps you to be healthier, fight stress, save money and of course, save the earth.
7. Think Before You Throw
Before you throw anything, think hard if it can’t be recycled or repurposed. Kitchens produce the most waste at home and reducing it will mean a great deal.
If you throw out too much food waste, maybe you are buying (or cooking) too much.
8. Of Paper, Plastic, and Linen
If you can avoid plastic, even better. Cutting down on linen also makes for a sustainable kitchen. Ditch the table cloth, runner, or seat cushions to save water for washing.
Going green isn’t just fad. It is a reality. It might seem like making our homes sustainable will do nothing to solve such a global dilemma but when done together and consistently, we can make a difference.
The kitchen is a good place to start.