Keeping the environment top of mind during a renovation isn’t just good for the planet; it’s good for you, your family, and your wallet too. Beyond reducing your carbon footprint, making eco-conscious decisions like investing in high-value materials such as Cosentino countertops and choosing energy efficient kitchen appliances can help you save money on utilities and repairs in the long run.
We tapped two design experts for advice about remodeling your cook space sustainably. Here, Brittany Farinas, CEO and director at design firm House Of One, and Amalia Graziani, principal of Noor Property Group, share their top strategies for making your kitchen renovation easier on the Earth.
Hire a Green Team
It’s important to work with experts who are as invested in the ethos behind your renovation project as you are. “Architects or contractors with experience building sustainable structures are always helpful,” Farinas says. “They’ll constantly be analyzing ways to reduce your carbon footprint and costs for the project.”
Graziani also suggests hiring local contractors. In addition to understanding the region’s laws and regulations around sustainability and recycling, they can be a great resource when it comes to finding local materials.
Choose Materials Wisely
Longevity should be a top priority when it comes to choosing materials. Silestone from Cosentino is a sustainable (and stylish) option for kitchen countertops. Thanks to the brand’s patent-registered HbriQ Technology, this high-performance blend of premium materials, quartz, and recycled materials is produced using 99 percent recycled water and 100 percent electric energy from renewable sources.
The best part? It’s highly resistant to stains, acids, scratches, and impacts from heavy pots and pans, meaning it’s easy to maintain and will last a long time. For extra peace of mind, Silestone provides a generous 25-year warranty.
Refurbish Before Replacing
Working with what you already have is a great way to be eco-conscious and save money during the renovation process. “Simply refinishing or refacing surfaces can improve both the structural integrity and value of your home,” Graziani says. “While I always opt for new appliances, I’ve reimagined millwork and cabinetry with refinishing and staining.”
Farinas is also a fan of preserving cabinetry: “I recently refreshed the original cabinets in a Spanish Mediterranean-style home with a fresh coat of green paint and it turned out stunning!”
Opt for Energy-Efficient Appliances
When shopping for appliances, look for options with the ENERGY STAR certification. Products with this stamp of approval meet the strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meaning they can help you save energy and money.
For example, a standard-sized ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save you around 3,870 gallons of water over its average lifespan while an EPA-approved refrigerator can save you more than $220 over its approximately 12-year lifetime.
Consider Passive Designs
If you’re completely gutting your kitchen, making passive design choices—the practice of maximizing natural light and heat to reduce energy usage—can lower utility bills.
“Windows can be oriented to capture and maximize low winter light and block out harsh summer light,” Graziani says. “And skylights can be incorporated into designs to reduce lighting and electricity needs.”
She also suggests being thoughtful with landscaping. In fact, according to the EPA, “Shade trees can reduce cooling energy costs by 7 to 47 percent and are greatest when trees are planted to the west and southwest of buildings.”
While a green renovation might cost more money upfront, you’ll reap the benefits of any eco-conscious decisions you make for years to come.
“Low-flow faucets, for example, can help you save water while insulation and energy-efficient appliances can help with electricity and heating bills,” Graziani explains. “Studies have also shown that homes with green certification sell, on average, 5 percent above market value.”
It’s smart to apply this type of long-range thinking to design and decor choices too. Opting for timeless rather than trendy helps ensure your space won’t look and feel outdated after a few years.
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