Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beyond Veggies...Greening Your Kitchen

With a little creativity and some inspiration it is easy to create a green kitchen design on any budget. When your budget is tight, you may want to focus on reuse to save some green. However, if you have some money to work with you can create custom designs using recycled materials and stay green.

Hydroponics Cabinetry

Have you ever considered setting up a hydroponic system to grow your own food? At first glance this may seem a little over the top, but just look at what people are doing with indoor herb gardens and vertical window farms. Combine these design elements with some custom cabinetry and your garden can easily move right into your kitchen and produce food year round. Not to mention the novelty and beauty of custom hydroponics cabinetry. Although, realistically, most people will likely stick with a small herb garden, you could let your imagination run with this idea and include grow lights where needed. 

Chest Freezer Butcher Block

An upright freezer is one of the least efficient appliances in your home. Swapping it out for a chest freezer is the best green alternative, but you need a place to put it in your kitchen. This is where we bring in a butcher block. By installing a butcher block on the top of a chest freezer you now have counter space which can easily fit into your existing cabinets and counters. Alternatively, you can turn your chest freezer butcher block into a kitchen island.

Glass Door Refrigerator

Once you've removed the freezer from your refrigerator it is much easier to consider a glass door refrigerator. These tend not to have freezers built into them and they can be much more energy efficient. Mostly, this is because you can look inside the refrigerator to find what you want before opening the door. Since the door spends less time open with people staring into the refrigerator, less energy is wasted cooling your kitchen.

Green Cabinetry

When you are considering new cabinetry for your kitchen there are myriad green options available. Reclaimed lumber, strawboard, or wheatboard are just a few, and bamboo provides a beautiful, durable and non-toxic choice.  However, it is important to keep thinking green as you consider cabinetry coverings and doors. Purchasing zero VOC paint can reduce the chemicals leaching into the air in your home.  Each of these design elements can help make your cabinets just a little greener.

Recycled Counter Tops

While you're considering new green cabinetry, you should also look at green counter tops. Some of the most common options include recycled glass, concrete, aluminum, and paper. These are both beautiful and environmentally friendly. Also, the same bamboo which is used to make cutting boards can be used to create custom counter tops. Although bamboo counter tops are not technically recycled, this stuff grows so fast it might as well be. Bamboo is a highly sustainable and rapidly renewable resource which brings great form and function to any kitchen design.

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