Provided by the Pro.com team
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and a space that gets used for more than just cooking. We entertain, help kids with homework and create a makeshift office in this central hub. It’s a space that gets plenty of use, therefore it should be as energy efficient as possible. Just by making a few changes and upgrades, you’ll save money and energy, while enhancing the comforts of your kitchen.
Here are eight simple ways to make your kitchen more “green.”
When you cook or bake using a full-sized oven, you often create heat in your home. During winter months, this is a great duality of oven use, however, in summer months, the excess heat is not too welcoming and may cause you to crank up your air conditioning system. Save money and energy by using cooking alternatives when a full sized oven is not necessary such as a slow cooker, toaster oven or convection oven. When using your stovetop, be sure to use a lid on pots and pans to help cook food faster and waste less energy, as well as match your pots and pans to the appropriate flame or burner size.
Also, consider your stove options: gas vs. electric. Electric tends to be more energy efficient, while gas stove allows you to have more control with your heat source.
2. Eat Smart
While grocery shopping, buy locally and sustainably when possible. You’ll lessen your carbon footprint by purchasing foods grown locally versus being shipped or transported in from miles away, and you’ll help boost your local economy by shopping local farmer’s markets. Reduce on food packaging waste by buying from bulk bins, and filter your water instead of purchasing disposable plastic water bottles.
Did you know that food waste takes up nearly 20% of landfill space? Instead of dumping your food scraps in the garbage, set your kitchen up with a small, compact food compost bin. There are conveniently sized ones that can sit right on your countertop for easy access, and if you are concerned about the smell, you can purchase biodegradable liners that are scented. Still cringing about potential smell? Use an empty juice carton to collect your food scraps and store in the freezer until you are ready to take to your outdoor compost or yard waste bin.
4. Bag It
Paper and plastic bags contribute to waste that can be avoided. Purchase reusable shopping bags to keep on hand with you in your car for when you do your grocery shopping, or keep a few stashed at work or in your gym bag for more last minute stops to stores. You’ll be doing the planet a great favor by cutting down use of plastic bags.
5. Energy Star
Approximately 80% of appliances meet the federal Energy Star guidelines. If you are planning to upgrade your appliances, make sure to purchase ones that meet this government guideline for energy efficiency.
It’s not always noticeable how much running water you are wasting, and washing dishes by hand can cause you to use a large amount of water. Save time, energy and money by utilizing your energy efficient dishwasher when you have a full load of dishes to run. Only wash those dishes by hand that are not dishwasher safe.
If you are renovating your home, save on construction waste and consider giving existing cabinets a facelift instead of disposing of them. Visit your local and salvaged and antiques stores for reclaimed fixtures, and keep your eye out for items that have been tossed that can be restored. If refurbishing isn’t your thing, consider purchasing green materials like compressed paper or recycle glass and ceramic mixed with concrete for countertops.
8. Natural Light
Brighten your kitchen with light colors that reflect natural light more effectively. Be sure to open curtains and blinds during daylight hours to use the sun’s natural source of light. Also, replace any incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient ones, as well as the fixtures.
Light colors in your kitchen will brighten the room and reflect natural light if you open the curtains to let natural sunlight in. Finally, replace incandescent bulbs and fixtures with energy-efficient lighting.
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