There are hundreds of ways to make a home “green,” earth-friendly, and wonderfully efficient, but transforming the entire house is often too large a project. Taking each room and applying eco-friendly practices one at a time is a much easier way to change a home into the greenest house on the block. Every room in the home presents unique challenges, but starting in the kitchen is an excellent idea because there are so many ways to reduce energy consumption in this vital gathering space.
Over the last century, the kitchen has become a favorite spot in the home for family and friends to hang out and has also become a huge source of energy consumption. Old appliances, inefficient fixtures, and the machines families use every day waste energy and also drive up electricity bills. A family may experience some of the best energy savings by focusing on the kitchen first since there are so many energy-hungry appliances gobbling up electricity every single day.
Choosing Appliances for Replacement
Replacement of the kitchen appliances often represents one of the largest investments in the creation of a green home, and it is essential to choose machines that have been rated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an “Energy Star” compliant device. Every year major appliance manufacturers increase the efficiency of their machines so investment in a new refrigerator or dishwasher may offer significant savings in energy.
Additionally, old appliances lose efficiency as they age so that 20-year-old washing machine would use much more water than today’s devices as well as wash dishes with less efficiency. One of the wonderful innovations of today’s dishwashers is that there are sensors within the appliance that measure the contents of the machine and uses only enough water to clean the dishes.
Updating the Fixtures
Kitchens usually have a few sets of lights, and it’s not uncommon for homeowners leave the kitchen lights on all day because there’s someone in the kitchen eating or relaxing. Incandescent lamps use much more electricity than LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and may even be left on for long periods of time without dramatic energy use.
The EPA suggests that the average household has an average annual utility bill that exceeds $2,000, and that at least 12 percent of that bill comes from lighting. If just 10 percent of households switched to energy efficient appliances and fixtures, the savings in energy would equal the yearly greenhouse emissions of more than a million cars.
Saving Water in the Kitchen
Old faucets turned up to the maximum setting pump out an extraordinary amount of water. Updating the faucet in the kitchen to a newer water-efficient version may offer substantial water savings as well as a reduction in energy usage. One interesting feature of today’s water-efficient faucets is a toggle system that allows the user to switch to high-efficiency mode for less demanding tasks.
Lesser Known Green Tips
Replacing appliances, fixtures, and faucets in the kitchen cover the major projects required of a green kitchen, but there are also some additional options the average homeowner can use to further reduce his or her carbon footprint. For example, switching to ceramic (or glass) dishes mean faster cooking and less energy used to prepare dinner. In addition, ceramic dishes don’t require as much heat and water to clean.
Also consider unplugging appliances or small machinery in the kitchen when they’re not being used. Some devices continue to leech energy even when they’re not in use and this wastes a lot of energy in the kitchen.
Creating a green home is a terrific way to help save the environment as well as lower the cost of owning a home. Update the kitchen and enjoy the immediate energy-saving benefits.
Author Bio: Andrew is a writer and father of two with a passion for green sustainable living. He believes in keeping this world clean for generations to come.