The idea of “the modern kitchen” has certainly evolved over the years. Today, the marks of a truly modern kitchen don’t have anything to do with energy-hogging convenience, single-task gadgets, and extra buttons on the refrigerator.
Instead, it’s about appreciating the basics and having as healthy and eco-friendly a space as possible. If you’re interested in upgrading your kitchen, consider these innovations that aim for smart, sustainable, and healthy cooking.
1. Include sustainable surfaces
Before you consider appliances and cookware, think about what your floors and countertops bring to your kitchen. Many kinds of materials used for these surfaces are wasteful and part of unsustainable industries. Instead of tile, environmentally unfriendly hardwood, or plastics, choose responsible and renewable surfaces like bamboo or cork.
Both can be harvested with minimal environmental impact and are beautiful as well. Likewise, look for countertops made of recycled materials.
2. Invest in smart lighting
Inefficient and unnecessary lighting is a big power drain that not only hits your electric bill, but also increases your carbon footprint. There are a number of ways to light your kitchen more responsibly.
- Windows and skylights provide natural lighting that can reduce or eliminate daytime light bulb usage.
- Replace normal incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs. They use less energy and last much longer, creating less waste.
- Plan your lighting layout to eliminate overlap and increase efficiency.
3. Buy efficient appliances
Whether it’s large appliances like your refrigerator and dishwasher, or smaller pieces like your coffee maker, modern kitchen gadgets are efficient gadgets. This means using green certified appliances with Energy Star ratings and occasionally going low-tech.
A good press pot makes excellent coffee without using extra electricity or creating more waste with filters, while uni-tasking machines like bread makers are completely unnecessary if you have an oven. Don’t be fooled by promises of convenience when all you’ll really get is expensive clutter.
4. Take up composting
Kitchen waste creates a number of problems on its own, from stinky trash bins to clogged garbage disposals. For food and paper waste, consider composting instead. You can keep a small, paper-lined bin under your sink or in your back yard that will create rich, natural compost.
You can use this compost to fertilize your lawn and garden, and many cities now collect compost to use in public parks. Research the composting options in your area for a more responsible and highly useful alternative to smelly garbage.
5. Consider gray water systems
While it is a pricy initial investment, a water capture and filtration system will drastically cut down your water bills and provide a very attractive amenity for potential home buyers. Gray water includes used water from your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, dishwasher, and washing machine.
The gray water system captures and filters the used water, allowing you to use considerably less from your municipal water reserves. This is a whole home upgrade that will have the environment thanking you.
Efficient, responsible, and useful
Upgrading your kitchen to be more efficient, responsible, and useful brings the hardest-working room in your home into the 21st century. Instead of buying and building more, it’s about crafting a smarter overall kitchen that reduces waste, improves health, and increases the value of your home in the modern market.