Guide to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Build Better Cabinets

The first step to becoming the proud owners of an eco-friendly kitchen is to hire an eco-friendly design build company. An eco-friendly design build company will be skilled at designing and building kitchens that are kind to the environment and will last a long time. A professional company will ensure that there are very well-built cabinets in your kitchen that will not wear out in 10 years. Many big developers use the most cost-effective materials when building kitchens. Cost-effective to the developer does not equal quality. The developer will get a higher return on their investment as they pay less for lesser quality cabinets but do not typically pass along those savings onto you.

A reputable design-build company will ensure that your kitchen cabinets are built to last a long time.

Such a company will embrace ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.


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Increasing the Insulation in your Kitchen Walls can save you money on heating bills in the winter. If renovating your kitchen, your electrician will likely need to open up the walls to do some electrical work. While the walls are accessible, it is the perfect opportunity to increase the insulation. There are many eco-friendly options when choosing the type of insulation. One popular option is using recycled blue jeans. The material is very durable and may provide health benefits due to not using fibreglass insulation.


Kitchen Walls

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Consider intentionally constructing a kitchen that is connected to the backyard. Doing this will connect you to your outdoor living spaces. You’ll be more inclined to go outside and even grow food in a garden. Growing your own vegetables and herbs is not only healthier for you but reduces your carbon footprint. A quart of cherry tomatoes grown in your backyard goes in a bowl and into your kitchen. One purchased in a store was picked off a tomato plant, packed into a plastic, clamshell container, placed in a truck that shipped it to your grocery store. You likely drove your car to the grocery store to buy the tomatoes. Fresh produce often has quite the trek to reach your table. An herb garden can improve quality of your life. Many herbs are perennials that can be harvested over and over all summer long. Gardening has been proved to reduce stress and anxiety. Not to mention the fact that herbs you grow will be as fresh as can be and will taste much better than purchased ones.

Planting shrubs beneath your kitchen windows can have a positive effect on your mood as well. A bright rhododendron or classic camelia could shade the lower half of your wall and help reduce your cooling bill.

An herb garden does not have to only sustain you for the summer months. Many design & build companies are incorporating indoor herb gardens right into the kitchen design. A self-watering garden shelf can be incorporated into your kitchen. Dimmable, LED light strips are discrete, energy efficient and perfectly equipped to keep your plants happy all year round. Hydroponic shelves are available if you prefer a soil-free system. Some systems have a notification component that will alert you on your cell phone when the water is low. You basically just need to add water once in a while and clip your herbs whenever you need them! Fresh herbs at your fingertips could turn you into a gourmand in no time!


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Use Eco-Friendly Materials

Cabinets are not the only materials that comprise an eco-friendly kitchen. Countertops and flooring are important, too. While some developers will opt to put laminate counters in kitchens, those counters are not designed for longevity. Quartz, granite and cement counters will last for a very long time. That is an eco-friendly investment. The landfill does not need any more worn out, faded laminate countertops. It has plenty as it is!

Eco-Friendly Materials

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There are many eco-friendly flooring options today to choose from. However, what goes into the determination of eco-friendly flooring? Think about whether or not the flooring has the ability to be recycled when it wears out, or refurbished – such as hardwood flooring. Does it last a long time, or do you have to constantly invest in maintaining it? How was it created and where? If the creation of the flooring using processes that pollute the air, it may not be very eco-friendly, no matter how long it lasts in your home. If a truck shipped the flooring from two thousand kilometres away, that was not very eco-friendly either.

Cork flooring is a renewable material. Did you know that this material comes from the bark of the cork oak tree? The bark grows back after it has been harvested! Cork flooring has insulating qualities as well.

Hardwood flooring is made from wood. It can be re-finished, and it lasts a very long time if taken care of. It is also biodegradable.

Linoleum flooring is actually made from flax plants. Flax plants have a high degree of availability and they are renewable. They can last more than 20 years if maintained.

eco-friendly flooring

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Energy Efficient Lighting

Increase the size of your window space to allow for cheaper heating and lighting. If possible, take advantage of a south or west facing kitchen to line that wall with big, bright windows. In doing so, you can take advantage of natural light. You may even get to watch some beautiful sunsets out those windows while having supper.

Efficient Lighting

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Energy Efficient Appliances

There are many more energy-efficient options today than even 5 years ago. The instant pot appliances, for one. If we tweak the way we cook, a little more energy can be saved. For instance, do you know that convection button on your oven? It cooks food faster, saving you electricity.

Crockpots do not draw much energy and the bonus of using one is that you can put all the components in before you start work for the day, and it cooks all day while you work at your job. Then you come home to a house that smells divine! And the best part is there is only one pot to clean!

New dishwashers use less water but deliver cleaner dishes. Using a dishwasher that has a condensation dry function will save even more electricity. Newer refrigerators are better insulated and therefore more efficient. Not to mention that if they have a water dispenser you will get instantly cold water from the refrigerator. This saves water as you won’t be running the kitchen faucet for a minute until the water gets cold enough for your liking. Refrigerators also use less power.

If you want an eco-friendly kitchen, one big thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is purchase appliances that will last longer than 10 years. Most appliances in big box stores are going to last an average of 8 years. This lifespan is not due to the insulation or exterior finishes. The problem is the quality of the electronics and motor packages used in the appliances.

Every brand has low-end, middle-end, and high-end products. Most of the time the high-end ones come with better electronic components. These top models will likely last 20 to 25 years but cost $5,000. A lower-end refrigerator will last an average of 8 years and cost you about $2,000. However, when it breaks, you cannot wait 3 weeks for the replacement part to come in to repair it, so you end up buying a new one. What happens to your old refrigerator? It goes to the dump. Over 20 to 25 years you could send 3, low-end refrigerators to the dump instead of investing in a high-quality one that lasts for 20 to 25 years.

Efficient Appliances

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VOC-FREE Paints & Finishes

Volatile Organic Compounds, (VOC), contain compounds with a composition that allows their evaporation. Basically, you cannot see these chemicals, but you can smell them. When you paint your home or purchase new furniture and bring it into your home you can smell them. Off-gassing, which is the evaporation of these chemicals, can last a few years.

These chemicals can cause headaches and many other short- and long-term health effects.

A good design and build company will use zero-VOC and/or low-VOC paints and finishes, depending on your choices. Zero-VOC paint is often water-based and literally contains no VOCs. The VOC-free paint costs a bit more than standard paint, but can you really put a price on your health?

To further improve the air quality in your home, you may consider an air-purifying system. Indoor, potted plants can improve the air quality as well.

Water Efficient Fixtures

It is easy to purchase water-efficient appliances and fixtures today. Dishwashers, laundry washing machines, toilets, showerheads, and faucets are offered in a plethora of water-efficient options. There is even a special toilet that uses gray water from the sink for toilet flushing!


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Just say no to the garborator. By getting rid of it, you are doing your part to help the municipality reduce sewage outflow. Composting is the way to go. You’ll use fewer plastic garbage bags if you compost, resulting in fewer garbage bags at the landfill. Not to mention how happy your vegetable garden will be with the compost!

Recycling has been made easy with a huge variety of recycling bin options.

Under the sink slide out drawers that contain compartments for compost, paper recyclables, plastic recyclables and garbage come in many sizes. Consistently recycling will reduce your carbon footprint and it is easier than ever to do so.


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Buy Larger Quantities of Staples

Purchasing big amounts of flour, grain, sugar as this reduces packaging. Also reduces trips to store – carbon footprint. Design extra space n kitchen to hold these things. White rice keeps forever. It does not hurt to be prepared in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a flood. Having the ability to store large quantities of food will not only aid you in the event of a. natural disaster, but it eco-friendly. Larger quantities of food come in less packaging and last longer, which means you are not driving to the store as often to purchase them. A good design build company can help you design your kitchen to have a higher capacity of food storage. Tupperware containers will keep your spices, baking staples, cereal and pasta fresh for much longer than the packaging they arrived in. A big bag of rice fits nicely into a 5-gallon bucket with a lid on top. Place some moisture absorbing gel packs inside the bucket and that rice will keep for a very long time.


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Install a Bottled Water Dispenser Right into your Kitchen

One huge jug contains 18.5 litres of water whereas a 24 case of bottled water contains a total of 12 litres. The 1 cooler jug is cleaned and reused. The 24 bottles of water after consumption will end up in different places. Some will be put in the garbage and others will make it to the recycling bin. Invest in some good, reusable water bottles and use the water cooler. The water will always be cold and you will not be adding any plastic to the landfill. It is very easy for kids to fill their thermoses with water from the dispenser and they will be more likely to drink water after school if they have a dispenser handy. Choose a water cooler that will continue to dispense water even when the power is out. Most of them are powered by gravity, anyway, which means they will continue to dispense water no matter how long the power is out. If your water source is a well, a water cooler will be invaluable to you. Well water is pumped via an electronic pump so if the power is out, you do not have water. Except from your water cooler! Smart cookie!


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