How To Create An Environmentally Friendly Kitchen in 2021

Recent advances in materials and technology have opened the door to easy ways to improve the eco-credentials of your kitchen.

If you’re looking to make changes to, or upgrade, your kitchen then here are some great ways to ‘go green’ in the process.

Four Seasons Kitchens

INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS

While design and functionality may be the first considerations, there’s a growing demand by homeowners for spaces that are environmentally sound, too. Here at Four Seasons, we believe that this should be an essential part of every designer’s approach, in a bid to make sure we’re all doing our best to provide a healthy and safe future for everyone.

SUSTAINABILITY

When we hear the word “sustainability” we tend to think of renewable fuel sources, reducing carbon emissions, protecting environments and a ways to keep the delicate ecosystems of our planet in balance. In short, sustainability looks to protect our environmental, personal and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. The most common ways of doing this are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste and toxicity levels, and create healthy, productive environments.

PLANET SAVING TECHNOLOGY

Regulations on energy and water efficiency have become increasingly strict over the years which has meant great advances in how appliances work and the technology within them. Insulation in ovens and fridges have both improved which not only means less energy will be needed for them to reach their desired temperatures, but also reduces the effect of the ambient temperature and offers more options when designing the kitchen.

A great testimony to this improvement is that as of March 2021 the energy ratings of fridges and washing machines have a had a complete overhaul due to 90% of fridges being sold at A+ or higher and 80% of washing machines at A++ or A+++! Fridges rated A++ will now be labelled as E- and A+ as F- etc. This shifting of the bands is very promising for the future as it shows the seriousness with which appliance efficiency is being taken and also means that there is plenty of room for further advances in this area.

PLANET SAVING TECHNOLOGY

Regulations on energy and water efficiency have become increasingly strict over the years which has meant great advances in how appliances work and the technology within them. Insulation in ovens and fridges have both improved which not only means less energy will be needed for them to reach their desired temperatures, but also reduces the effect of the ambient temperature and offers more options when designing the kitchen.

A great testimony to this improvement is that as of March 2021 the energy ratings of fridges and washing machines have a had a complete overhaul due to 90% of fridges being sold at A+ or higher and 80% of washing machines at A++ or A+++! Fridges rated A++ will now be labelled as E- and A+ as F- etc. This shifting of the bands is very promising for the future as it shows the seriousness with which appliance efficiency is being taken and also means that there is plenty of room for further advances in this area.

The BSH Group are taking their appliances one step further than this by continuing to research the use of recyclates and bio-plastics within their products as well as wanting to change how we approach the economic system as a whole (more on this later).

Energy efficiency and materials choices are not the only places where modern appliances can help to reduce your impact on the environment. Newer fridges host a range of technology designed specifically for improving the longevity of your food.

Storing your food correctly will mean less waste, less shopping trips (and therefore less fuel), and less packaging, all of which are great additions to your eco-friendly quiver. This is achieved by having drawers with variable levels of ventilation, better air circulation within the appliance and the superCool/superFreeze functions which help to efficiently reduce the temperature internally before you fill it back up with your latest produce from the supermarket.

MORE GREEN TECH

Green tech doesn’t stop with your usual kitchen appliances however. Lighting, smart controllers and even windows and doors can all be chosen with a more ecologically friendly mindset to help save the planet and some cash at the same time!

Simple changes such as swapping your old cabinet lighting for a modern LED equivalent can be a great place to start and if you’re involving building work in your project then clever use of skylights and well insulated exterior glazing can help boost the light levels in your room without needing to use extra artificial lighting.

You can even go as far as having skylights on automatic sensors which will open and close by themselves to help regulate the ambient temperature in the room. Fancy!

MORE GREEN TECH

Green tech doesn’t stop with your usual kitchen appliances however. Lighting, smart controllers and even windows and doors can all be chosen with a more ecologically friendly mindset to help save the planet and some cash at the same time!

Simple changes such as swapping your old cabinet lighting for a modern LED equivalent can be a great place to start and if you’re involving building work in your project then clever use of skylights and well insulated exterior glazing can help boost the light levels in your room without needing to use extra artificial lighting.

You can even go as far as having skylights on automatic sensors which will open and close by themselves to help regulate the ambient temperature in the room. Fancy!

MATERIAL MINDFULNESS

Material choices are another important factor when considering the eco-credentials of your kitchen and an area in the kitchen industry which has seen continued development in recent years. From companies using reclaimed materials in worktops to reduced emissions and cabinets made from fully recyclable bio-composite plastics.

Leading worktops manufacturer, Cosentino, are paving the way to a greener future by employing some fantastic new processes in the creation of some of their worktops.

The Silestone Loft series is created with their HybriQ+ technology that, throughout the manufacturing process, boasts the inclusion of 100% renewable energy, 98% recycled water and the use of recycled glass and minerals. Not only does this create a much more environmentally friendly product, without compromising on the strength and practicality you would expect from a Silestone worktop, they then bolster this with a reduction in the use of crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is a natural material that is found in natural granite, quartz and other stone based worktops however the cutting, polishing and general fabrication of products containing crystalline silica has been known to have links with respiratory conditions.

The reduction of crystalline silica will help keep our much-needed worktop fabricators safer and healthier for longer, something that we hope to see more of in the future with other worktop manufacturers following suit and maybe even regulations on silica contents.

CLIMATE NEUTRAL PRODUCTS

Energy efficient and responsible manufacturing carries through to cabinetry as well and two great examples of this are Häcker and Puustelli Minus. Häcker are the first kitchen manufacturer who can claim to have a fully climate neutral product portfolio, achieved by using 55% green electricity, pneumatic/compressed air powered tools and a very successful reforestation programs.

Similarly to Consentino they are also taking care of the people using their products post manufacture with their PURemission AirProtectionSystem that reduces the formaldehyde levels to being significantly under the legal requirements.

Häcker further helps the environment by simply building great kitchens! We have worked with them now for many years and we have a large customer base with 15-20 year old kitchens that are still in brilliant working order and are very serviceable in the event of wear and tear throughout their lifespan.

This drastically reduces the need to replace your kitchen prematurely and saves both wasted materials and wasted money!

CLIMATE NEUTRAL PRODUCTS

Energy efficient and responsible manufacturing carries through to cabinetry as well and two great examples of this are Häcker and Puustelli Minus. Häcker are the first kitchen manufacturer who can claim to have a fully climate neutral product portfolio, achieved by using 55% green electricity , pneumatic/compressed air powered tools and a very successful reforestation programs.

Similarly to Consentino they are also taking care of the people using their products post manufacture with their PURemission AirProtectionSystem that reduces the formaldehyde levels to being significantly under the legal requirements.

Häcker further helps the environment by simply building great kitchens! We have worked with them now for many years and we have a large customer base with 15-20 year old kitchens that are still in brilliant working order and are very serviceable in the event of wear and tear throughout their lifespan.

This drastically reduces the need to replace your kitchen prematurely and saves both wasted materials and wasted money!

BIO-COMPOSITE FRAMES

Puustelli Minus are cabinetry manufacturer who are truly pushing the boundaries of eco-friendly technology and production.

Having changed the way they think about kitchens they use an injection moulded, bio-composite frame for the sides of their carcases and OSB or solid timber for the shelving and structural rails. The result of this overhaul in their approach materials results in a complete removal of MDF, chipboard, melamine and laminate surfaces, formaldehyde-based glues, endangered timber species and spirit-based finishes.

Their bio-composite frames are highly water resistant, lightweight and fully recyclable too so this helps with the longevity and transportation of the product.

AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH

Whilst all of these brilliant products can make a huge difference to the eco-status of your kitchen and even the rest of your house, they need to come hand in hand with a revised approach to not only how we view and design interior spaces but also how we approach our health and day to day habits.

Where possible designers should be trying to incorporate these revolutionary products into their work and discussing options with customers regarding how and where they can make changes to help them go green. There’s also a lot to be said for future-proofing designs and creating very classic aesthetics which will stand the test of time rather than needing to be replaced. Similarly, the consumer should be taking careful consideration into how they go about their renovations with anything from recycled wallpaper and eco friendly paints to the way they dispose of their existing kitchens and their cooking waste.

At Four Seasons not only do we have access to all the products previously mentioned but we also have a scheme to help reduce the waste from your existing kitchen when it is removed. Many kitchens are changed when people move into a new home because if is not to their taste but there may well be life left in it. We can assist you in in the sale of your existing kitchen furniture and appliances, where appropriate, prior to the renovations taking place to try and ensure they’re given a new lease of life instead of going to the landfill.
This approach to reusing existing items is something that BSH are also incorporating into their working practices with the idea of a circular economy.

Typically, most purchases are a ‘one-way-road’, something to the effect of ‘Production – Use – Disposal’, however the idea of a circular economy or ‘closed cycle’ is more along the lines of ‘Production – Use – Repair – Remanufacturing – Reuse – Recycling’. Altering the perceived norm of how we consume products means that there will be an increase in opportunities to recycle and reuse appliances so that there is less waste and a lower demand for precious materials or materials that can only be obtained through ecologically negative means.

REDUCING FOOD WASTE

Reducing the waste from your kitchen doesn’t have to end with the completion of your renovations. Once you’ve got your beautiful new kitchen, the way you use it can also have a great impact on doing your bit for the environment.

Reducing food waste through appropriate storage as we mentioned earlier in the article is a great place to start but reducing the excess of packaging your food comes in is also a fantastic way to help. One particular piece of technology that can help with this in an exciting way is the Natufia kitchen garden.

Natufia are a small company based in Tallinn, Estonia. They specialise in producing incredibly high quality, home-hydroponics systems that enable the user to grow a plethora of wonderful herbs, edible flowers and even some fruits in a footprint no bigger than a standard fridge freezer. Using a hydroponic system means that there is no mess from your typical agricultural substrates, no pests, higher crop yields and no adverse effects from environmental factors, to name but a few advantages!

However, one of the biggest ecological advantages is the lack of packaging. They send out all their seed pods in cardboard packaging and the plastic cages used in the growing process are designed to be used multiple times so that they are not wasted on a single use.

This is an area of technology that I think will see a big advance in the next 5 years or so as more and more people are becoming conscious of what they eat and also appropriate growing conditions are reducing around the globe.

SUMMARY

kitchen trends 2021

Being eco-conscious doesn’t have to be a huge commitment or particularly hard work however with all the tremendous, modern-day technology that we’ve discussed in this article, it gives every consumer multiple choices of how and where they make changes to ensure a safer and healthier future for us all.

If you would like to find out more information about any of the above then keep and eye on our blog where we will be going into more detail on some of the subjects covered in this article and feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all.

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