While the concept of completing an eco-friendly kitchen renovation was almost non-existent just a few decades ago, things have changed in recent times. According to multiple studies conducted over the past few years, the vast majority of Australians are now committed to living in a more environmentally-friendly way. One survey found that nine out of 10 participants were now more likely to buy products listed as “sustainable”, while another study showed more than 90% of Australian buyers are worried about environmental sustainability. Clearly, our attitude towards the planet has undergone a fundamental shift. And this new “greener” attitude is now being reflected in all aspects of our lives…including how we choose to build and renovate our homes.
Is It Possible to Complete an Eco-Friendly Kitchen Renovation?
Some people may doubt whether it’s even possible to complete an eco-friendly kitchen renovation. But renovations can now be successfully completed in a way that is more considerate of the environment. The key is to opt for sustainable materials, minimise waste and choose appliances that will reduce your long-term carbon footprint.
- Support environmentally-friendly suppliers: A growing number of suppliers and manufacturers are making changes to their production methods in an effort to become more sustainable. Look for materials that are labelled with LEET Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) or that are manufactured using renewables. One excellent example of an environmentally-friendly manufacturing process is the Silestone HyrbriQ+. This kitchen benchtop product is manufactured using 98% recycled water, 100% renewable energy and a minimum of 20% recycled materials.
- Opt for eco-friendly materials: Timber has been a popular feature in kitchen design for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, but there are now ways to include more eco-friendly timber products. One example is the range of cabinetry and benchtops available through Polytec, which are manufactured as part of the reDirect Wood Recovery Initiative. By using reclaimed materials to produce raw and particleboard products, Polytec simultaneously reduces the amount of waste going into landfill, while also preserving existing pine plantation forests. If you’re planning to use raw timber during your kitchen renovation, then try to select products that have been certified compliant with Australian Forestry Standards (AFS).
- Choose appliances that are energy-efficient: About 10% of the average household energy use will be as a result of kitchen appliances. So, it makes sense to look for energy-efficient appliances that can help to reduce your total household carbon emissions. Check the ENERGY STAR rating of all appliances before you purchase them or talk to an expert about which brands have a reputation for manufacturing high-quality appliances that are also energy-efficient.
- Think about eco-friendly lighting: One of the best ways to create a “greener” lighting design for your kitchen is to incorporate as much natural light as possible. Skylights and strategically positioned windows can flood your kitchen with natural light, reducing the need for you to turn on electric lights during the day. When it comes to choosing electric lighting, LED fixtures will typically last up to 20x longer than a traditional halogen while using a lot less energy.
- Look for water-saving fixtures: Most homeowners automatically include water-saving fixtures as a standard part of a bathroom renovation. But water-saving fixtures for the kitchen are also now available. For example, modern low-flow taps can help you to minimise water usage without sacrificing water pressure. Another great water-saving tip is to install a dishwasher. While this may initially seem counterproductive, modern dishwashers have been designed for maximum efficiency and minimum water usage. As a result, one study in Germany found that a full dishwasher, with an average of 144 items, will only use 13 litres of water. In contrast, hand washing the same quantity of dishes would use about 100 litres!