Today on the Build Blog we’re diving into what makes a kitchen sustainable and why it’s important. We’re including a comprehensive list of everywhere we source sustainable, eco-friendly kitchen appliances, countertops, cabinets, hardware and more — But before we get into the specifics, let’s first go over what to look for, generally when making green kitchen swaps:
- Look for energy-star ratings on kitchen appliances. This is a quick way to know your appliances are going to last and are good for the environment
- Utilize natural fiber textiles on any dining chairs and barstools. We’re mostly going to focus on the appliances and building materials in this post, rather than the interior design, but if that is something that interests you, give this post a read here.
- Once you’re all done designing your eco-friendly kitchen, you want to keep it that way! So be sure to make green swaps to the cleaners you’re using. For the best recommendations of eco-friendly cleaning products that won’t break the bank, give this post a read here.
What Are the Best Eco-Friendly Kitchen Appliances?
Wolf (www.wolfappliance.com) manufacturing plants use renewable energy, recycle, source environmentally friendly material and supplies, and provide living wages to factory workers. Made in the United States, Wolf was behaving in a green way before it became a movement.
Bosch (www.bosch.com) has a corporate commitment to low-impact manufacturing and a global management system for environmental issues that maintains high standards for environmental responsibility in any place they operate.
- Jennair (www.jennair.com) combines the best elements of their cooktops with induction heating for more efficient use of energy and faster cooking times
- GE’s Advantium oven (www.Geappliances.com) prepares meals up to eight times faster than a conventional oven while locking in moisture, and there’s no need to preheat.
- Viking (www.vikingrange.com) has married their professional performance with efficiency in their MagneQuick line. Using a preheating system and induction heating, the least amount of energy needed is used to power their cooktops and ovens.
- Because of its microwave and convection qualities, the Turbo Chef oven (www.turbochef.com) greatly reduces cooking time. It only takes forty minutes to cook a twelve-pound turkey. The oven comes in white, stainless, and three different vibrant, two-tone color combos.
What Are the Best Eco-Friendly Cabinets?
- Valcucine (www.valcucinena.com), the greenest of all European cabinets, went so far as to found a reforestation group, BioForest. Their cabinetry uses up to 80 percent less material than competing products. They are free of formaldehyde and use only nontoxic, citrus oil finishes. Their Invitrum line with its glass doors, cabinets, and countertops make up the world’s first eco-friendly, zero-emission, 100 percent recyclable kitchen cabinets. The bases of the units are made with recycled aluminum and glass, which are assembled with mechanical joinery so no glue is needed. The glass panels are only 10 mm thick which replaces the need for double panels, resulting in fewer materials. The cabinets are made to last a lifetime, and at the end of their lifecycle, they are labeled for 100 percent recycling.
- Italian Kitchen Design (www.ikdusa.com) features attractive and affordable Italian cabinets made with European environmental standards, imported top of the line veneers, and pressure laminates.
- The core materials of Humabuilt cabinets (www.humabuilt.com) are renewable and recyclable, manufactured without formaldehyde. They are also very careful about the adhesives they use and they have passed some of the most stringent air quality standards in the United States.
- Sleek, strong, and sustainable describe the flexible kitchen systems from Bazzèo (www.bazzeo.com). Customizable cabinets, drawers, and storage pieces are crafted from rapidly renewable and recycled materials, including wheatboard, aluminum, stainless steel, and certified woods finished with wood veneers, aluminum, or laminate panels, and low- to no-emission lacquers. Bazzèo says it transforms all manufacturing waste into new products and plants a tree for each new order.
- Kirei (www.kireiusa.com) is a leader in green wheat-board. The Kirei product often exceeds the characteristics of commercially available MDF but it comes from a renewable source and uses nontoxic adhesives. When you use the Kirei wheatboard instead of conventional MDF you can earn LEED points for rapidly renewable material, recycled content, and indoor quality.
- Lyptus (www.lyptus.com) sells a species of wood developed for cabinetry. It grows in about half the time as other cabinet wood but has the same beneficial qualities, no formaldehyde binders, and is visually attractive.
- Cabinetmaker Tonusa (www.tonusa.com) has a green cabinet line and recognizes the need to care for our environment for the benefit of future generations. Tonusa uses environmentally responsible raw materials in its products such as wood boards that meet stringent European standards, imported premium laminates and veneers.
- Treefrog Veneer (www.treefrogveneer.com) carries a complete selection of forty-nine real wood veneer laminates, representing the most beautiful wood species in the world. A One Percent for the Planet member, they practice sustainable forestry, use water-based dyes and stains, which are free of chrome, and follow E1 European limits for formaldehyde emission. The production facility is located in Massachusetts.
- Brookside Veneers (www.veneers.com) has had a strong commitment to the environment for over thirty years, from the harvest and manufacturing processes to the recyclable paper products they purchase. The company has made substantial investments in state-of–the-art machinery to reduce dust and fumes to preserve air quality. Wastewater from dying vats is processed back into clean water and wood scraps are put back into production. Their veneers have achieved FSC certification and the company donates portions of their profits to organizations on promoting forest renewal and health.
Where to Shop Eco-Friendly Range Hoods?
- Zephyr (www.zephyronline.com) has included a new energy-efficient range hood that is Energy Star rated for its high performance ventilation and low energy consumption.
- Fisher and Paykel Fisher & Paykel (fisherpaykel.com) is not only committed to sustainable production and waste methods, they have owned a recycling plant for decades. Their “take back” program” collects refrigerators to be recycled instead of thrown away.
- AGA.(aga-ranges.com) – AGA ranges not only look chic, with their brilliantly hued enamel, their cookers are made of 70% recycled material.
- Meile- (mieleusa.com)- This company lives and breathes sustainability and includes elements of energy efficiency, longevity, recyclability, waste management and social responsibility in all of their product lines. Their Extractor unit completely recesses into the ceiling, illustrating how green design is also gorgeous design.
We recently completed for Vegan chefs who founded the plant-based brand Forks Over Knives. Because they don’t cook with oils, we didn’t need a range hood at all. What could be healthier and more eco than that?
Where to Shop for Eco-Friendly Countertops?
- Enviroglas (enviroglasproducts.com) is an American company at the forefront of design and recycling. Granite comes from far away. It’s heavy and requires a lot of energy to mine it, shape it, and get it from places like Turkey to your project. Synthetic, recycled countertops utilize broken glass and porcelain, suspended in a resin, to create gorgeous, durable surfaces perfect for cooking, eating, and living. They are installed and work just like granite, but greener.
- Caesar Stone (caesarstoneus.com) was the first solid surface company to make an environmental commitment back in 1987. The Greenguard-certified product uses recycled content and recycles industrial raw material and 97 percent of water used in processing. They avoid using hazardous substances and the counter tops are impervious to mold and microbes.
- The ECO brand (ecobyconsentino.com) is both Cradle to Cradle and Greenguard certified, is a durable surface made of 75 percent recycled content composed of post-industrial or post-consumer materials, and is bound by an environmentally friendly resin which comes in part from corn oil. ECO is an ideal substitute for natural or engineered stone.
- EnviroPLANK and EnviroSLAB terrazzo tiles and slabs (enviroglasproducts.com) are made of post-consumer and post-industrial recycled glass. The product is made from 75 percent recycled glass from local recycling programs for minimal transportation impact. The product is resistant to chips, stains, burns, and chemicals and has zero VOCs and virtually no emissions. Maintenance of the product requires only water, mild cleaner, and no wax. It is designed to last a lifetime, but can be ground up for a new floor if desired.
- In addition to recycled content slabs and environmentally conscious practices in their manufacturing plants, Consentino, Silestone’s parent company (silestoneusa.com), cooperates with the quarries they mine to restore the environment to its original landscape.
- The Ice Stone brand (ecospectile.com) is Cradle to Cradle certified and made from 100 percent recycled glass. The glass countertop is mixed with cement for a concrete surface. It’s free from VOCs, plastics, resins, and you can earn up to 6 LEED points by using it.
- Coverings Etc.’s Bio-Glass countertops (coveringsetc.com) are made from 100 percent recycled and recyclable glass bottles and stemware. The product has Cradle to Cradle Silver Tier certification.
Where to Shop the Best Eco-Friendly Hardware?
- Emtek (emtek.com/sustainability), and the ASSA ABLOY group brands are signatories to the United Nations Global Compact and are committed to updating their sustainability practices on an ongoing basis. Their products are made from non-hazardous materials and pass strict oversight when it comes to manufacturing in factories overseas. They’re truly uncompromising when it comes to acting green!
- Sun Valley Bronze (www.sunvalleybronze.com), manufactured in Sun Valley, Idaho, practices environmental responsibility by using green sand technology in the casting process. It participates in metal scrap and office recycling programs and provides healthy working conditions for its employees. It uses 90 –95 percent recycled content materials in its white bronze and silicon bronze products. Bronze also has natural antimicrobial and self-decontaminating properties.
- Rocky Mountain Hardware (www.rockymountainhardware.com), a family-owned and operated business located in Sun Valley, Idaho, uses 90 percent pre-consumer and 50 percent post-consumer recycled material to create all of their products. The company headquarters are housed in a LEED certified building. They practice conservation in their daily business activities including: recycled water, waste recycling, and naturally lit working spaces.
- Green Sage (www.greensage.com) offers styles ranging from bamboo designs to 100 percent recycled glass knobs and lead-free pewter knobs, pulls, and bathroom accessories.
- Anna Sova (www.annasova.com) sells drapery hardware made in the United States from 100 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum and recycled glass, and is finished with no VOC products. Hardware is shipped in minimal packaging.
Further Reading for Green Interior Design and Home Building Resources:
- Want to delve deeper? Be sure to pre-order your copy of the updated 2nd edition of Green Interior Design here on amazon!
- Making Southern California Homes Eco-Friendly