Nothing says “happy holidays” like fresh baked goods and home cooking. That is why the holidays are a great time to think about ways you can make your kitchen a healthier, more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly room.
In part one and part two of this three part series looking at perfecting your kitchen through green building, we looked at the appliances, lighting and surfaces that my wife Karen said she would include in her ideal green kitchen here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This week, we will look at the way kitchen fixtures, waste disposal and water filtration fit the ideal green kitchen.
Perfecting my wife’s green kitchen means we think of everything, including the kitchen sink. Kitchen fixtures are the next area Karen said she would focus on when designing her ideal green kitchen.
You’re probably getting tired of hearing about low-flow water fixtures, but I am going to mention them one more time anyway. Low-flow faucets are one of the single easiest ways to conserve water in your home.
Low-flow kitchen faucets by Delta are one brand we particularly like. Delta’s lower flow faucets typically use about 20 percent less water than traditional kitchen faucets without sacrificing performance. For the average household, this can mean significant water savings each year and a reduction in the monthly water bills.
Let’s face it, no matter how much our parents drilled it into our heads, many of us still leave the water running when we brush our teeth, wash our hands or clean dishes. Low flow fixtures ensure that we use less water even if we forget to turn them off.
There are other products that can save even more. Touchless and hands-free fixtures are another technology I’m excited to see used in a residential design. By automatically shutting off the water when not being used, touchless technology further reduces the amount of water wasted.
Another kitchen fixture that can be green is your kitchen sink. A typical stainless-steel kitchen sink is at least 60 percent recycled.
However, there are 100-percent recycled steel sinks available. Using recycled steel is great because it requires much less energy than manufacturing with virgin steel.
If you are looking for something other than stainless steel, there are many other green sink options including cement, copper, recycled glass and more.
So far, we have covered the major areas of my wife’s ideal kitchen. Here are a few other odds and ends Karen said she would consider in her ideal green kitchen.
The kitchen produces more waste than any other room in the house. The first thing you can do to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill is make recycling as easy as possible. When designing your home, plan space for a separate recycling bin close to your garbage bin. That way, it is simple and convenient to separate items that can be recycled.
Now that Las Cruces offers single-stream recycling, you can mix all of your recyclables into one bin.
The second way you can reduce kitchen waste is by reducing the amount of food scraps sent to the landfill. According to the Clean Air Council, nearly 16 million tons of food are thrown away each year.
One great way to reduce food waste is through composting. Composting involves collecting all of your food scraps and convert ing them into compost material that can be used as fertilizer. You can check out my blog for more information on composting.
Unfortunately, composting isn’t always practical and many people don’t have the time or patience for it. Thankfully, technology has given us a great green alternative: disposers.
A disposer is like a juiced up version of the traditional disposal. Disposers provide an environmentally friendly alternative to transporting food waste to landfills. Disposers can process foods such as chicken bones, fruit rinds, corn cobs and other items that can’t be processed by a traditional disposal.
Many wastewater treatment plants can now turn the food processed by disposers into fertilizers and use it as an energy source. Make sure to check with your utility company before installing a disposer.
Water filtration is the last key component my wife added to her ideal green kitchen.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Adding a water purification system to your kitchen eliminates the need for bottled water. Purifiers cost as little as $30 and produce filtered water in the range of 5-cents to 25-cents per gallon. That means you are getting your water much cheaper and in many cases more pure than you would from a bottle.
The ideas I’ve offered in this three-part series are just the beginning of what you can do to create your ideal green kitchen. I’d love to hear from you about the other ways you’re making your kitchen a greener place this holiday season. Send me an email, tweet (@picachomt) leave a comment on this blog with your thoughts.
Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Estate Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, and Neighborhood Retail.