Save Energy With Your Kitchen Remodel
Your kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in your home, and your home’s energy consumption reflects that flurry of activity. Heating water, cooking, refrigeration, and washing dishes all use energy and water. By choosing energy-efficient appliances and fixtures for your kitchen remodel, you can save money on utility bills while helping the environment.
Energy-Efficient Kitchen Layout and Design
The first step to going green in the kitchen is working with your contractor on the kitchen’s layout and design.
If multiple people cook at once in your household, a U-shaped kitchen can provide the space you need to cook and prepare your food while still having plenty of storage space and counter space for dishes, countertop appliances, and decor. For smaller spaces, L-shaped kitchens work well.
If you find yourself constantly looking for counter space, you may want to incorporate a kitchen island in your new kitchen. Kitchen islands are incredibly versatile, and they are often the focal point and social hub of the kitchen.
Most likely, you already have an idea about the general layout of your new kitchen. However, any reputable contractor will be able to help you design the kitchen of your dreams while answering any and all of your questions.
Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Lighting
Keep in mind while designing your new kitchen that natural light is the most energy-efficient source of light there is! Natural light also has numerous physical and mental health benefits. However, natural light is not always an option, depending on the layout of your home. In that case, consider installing energy-efficient lighting such as LEDs to light the kitchen. LEDs last much longer than incandescent bulbs, and they use much less energy.
Other options for kitchen lighting include recessed lighting, in-drawer, and under-cabinet lighting.
By installing energy-efficient lighting in your new kitchen, you can save money on your energy bill immediately. However, you don’t always have to install new fixtures or brand new windows to see those savings. Simply switching all of your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs will save you up to 90% on your lighting costs in the kitchen.
Efficient Faucets and Water Fixtures
Your kitchen faucet is one of the most used plumbing fixtures in your home. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that WaterSense labeled faucets and faucet accessories can reduce household water use significantly. In the excitement of designing a new kitchen, it’s easy to forget about the specifications of your kitchen faucet. However, to keep your kitchen as environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient as possible, it’s crucial to install efficient faucets that use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute. The average flow is 2.2 gallons a minute, and this barely-noticeable difference can reduce your sink’s water usage by as much as 30%!
Energy-Efficient Kitchen Appliances
One of the most fun chores associated with a kitchen remodel is picking out your new appliances! The fact that choosing a new appliance is fun doesn’t mean it’s not overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide to get you started!
How To Choose an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator
According to the United States Energy Information Administration, refrigeration accounts for up to 6% of electricity consumption in United States homes. By choosing a refrigerator that conserves energy, you can reduce your monthly utility bills while helping preserve the environment.
1.Determine Which Style and Size Refrigerator You Need
Consult with your remodeling contractor and determine the space you have available for a refrigerator. Generally speaking, smaller family sizes mean smaller fridges. While smaller refrigerators tend to consume less energy than larger ones, overfilling a refrigerator can affect its energy efficiency, so make sure to consult with a professional to determine the best size refrigerator for your family based on your cooking and grocery shopping habits.
You’ll also want to think about the most useful door configuration for your refrigerator and whether it’ll be most efficient to have the freezer on top or bottom, or if a side-by-side configuration makes the most sense.
2. Compare Features and Energy Labels
While certain refrigerator features such as an automatic ice maker in the freezer don’t add much to your monthly utility bills, other features such as in-door water and ice dispensers can add up in costs over time.
Whether browsing online or in-store, compare energy labels between refrigerators. If refrigerators are Energy Star-certified, that means that they meet the high energy-efficiency standards of the government certification program. You’ll also want to pay attention to any EnergyGuide labels that should detail estimates of operating costs based on the national average rate.
How To Choose an Energy-Efficient Oven and Stovetop
Picking a refrigerator is simple compared to picking an oven. Depending on your cooking habits, a plethora of high-efficiency ovens and stovetops are available. Here’s a brief look at a few key features to watch for when picking a new oven or stovetop for your home:
1.Gas or Electric Ovens
Natural gas ovens and stovetops have lower energy costs than ovens that use propane, fuel, or electricity. However, not every home is suitable for a gas oven. Check with your contractor to determine the best choice for your family.
2. Convection Ovens
Convection ovens use less energy by incorporating a fan that circulates hot air. This process cooks food faster at a lower temperature.
3. Self-Cleaning Ovens
Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated, which makes them more energy-efficient.
How Can Sound Renovation Help You With Your Kitchen Remodel?
While this article is just a brief guide to planning your new energy-efficient kitchen, we’ve got a library’s worth of remodeling knowledge distributed among our team here at Sound Renovation. With thirty years of remodeling experience in the Seattle area, we’re proud members of the Masters Builders Association and previous winners of the Angie’s List Super Service Award for Remodeling. Call today to get started on your new green kitchen!