Let’s talk green… green kitchens that is! Nowadays there are so many new ways to improve the sustainability of products, but it is not always easy to understand what the eco rules, regulations and certifications all mean! Green doesn’t have to be difficult! We’re here to demystify green kitchen design with a mini dictionary of things you need to know!
Keep, Cook and Clean Green
There are so many kitchen appliances out there…look for these key words to find the safest, most energy-efficient products:
- ENERGY STAR: A sign that the product has been deemed green. Companies such as Viking and GE have sections on their websites dedicated to listing ENERGY STAR Products.
- EPA WaterSense: Products bearing this label guarantee water conservation and savings.
- Induction Cooktops: A more energy efficient cooktop than its gas or electric counterparts, using electromagnetic energy to make cooking quicker and lose less heat in the process.
- Low-Flow Aerators: For faucets are a simple, easy, and inexpensive method by which to conserve water.
Cabinets house all of our food, dishes, and silverware; they do not need to house toxins too!
- Formaldehyde-free: Formaldehyde is an dorless gas that is incorporated into some paints, finishes, wood and other building materials that can be dangerous at high levels. Look for formaldehyde-free products, most importantly urea-formaldehyde-free, a dangerous variety commonly used to treat wood.
- Low or No VOC Finishes: Products with little to no VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, have little-to-no smell, are not a health hazard, and are non-or-less toxic paint products used on cabinetry.
- Water-Based Sealers: Are a healthy, non-toxic option that will make your wood cabinets last longer.
Chop, Slice, Dice, and Serve Green
The countertop where we prepare our food should not only be manufactured in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, but should also provide us the safest surface possible.
- Bacteriostatic Protection: A sign that the product protects from bacteria by resistance and impermeability. Currently, Silestone is the only company offering Bacteriostatic Quartz Countertops.
- Bamboo Butcher Block Countertop: Rapidly-renewable bamboo makes for a durable countertop. Be sure to verify product quality and low-to-no formaldehyde levels like those available through Teragren.
- Recycled Aluminum Countertop: Aluminum shavings from milling are combined with acrylic resin. (Check out Alkemi!)
- Recycled Glass Countertop: Recycled glass mixed in with cement can make a colorful countertop, like those available through Brooklyn-based IceStone.
- Recycled Paper Countertop: Sounds odd, but it’s true! Recycled paper can make a great countertop. Be sure to look for FSC Certification and low-VOC resin. Paperstone is a great option
- Quartz Countertop: A hard material that is resilient to acids.
Green Seals of Approval
Groups, companies, or third-parties provide an easy and efficient way to tell if a product has the eco-friendly stamp of approval.
- Cradle to Cradle™ Certification: Rates how green a product is based on levels ranging from basic (lowest) to silver, gold and platinum (highest).
- Forest Stewardship Council: Certification indicates that the sources of forest products have been confirmed and are responsibly harvesting, within the code set forth by the FSC.
- GREENGUARD: Certifies products and materials that emit low levels of chemicals, providing healthier air for consumers.
- Green Seal: Certifies companies, products, and services after rigorous testing to give consumers the confidence that the product or service is eco-friendly and sustainable.