Grand Designs Live
Grand Designs Magazine Cover
  • fb icon
  • fb icon
  • fb icon
  • fb icon

From eco friendly countertops to energy efficient appliances, there are plenty of ways to combine sustainability and style in your kitchen

How to Create an Eco Friendly Kitchen

Photo credit: Sleek Concrete by Caesarstone, from £300 per sqm, has up to 42 per cent reclaimed quartz. (0800 158 8088; caesarstone.co.uk)

We know that solar panels, cycling to work and reusing plastic bags contribute to reducing our carbon footprint, but what can we do to save energy inside our homes? 

Kitchens can drain a lot of energy. Using recycled or sustainably produced materials, energy efficient appliances and seeking out low-impact manufacturing are all areas to consider when planning an eco friendly kitchen. Follow our four steps to creating a green kitchen.

Cabinets and worktops

The materials used to construct units and surfaces contribute to a kitchen’s eco credentials. One on-trend option for the units is birch plywood, made of thin sheets of timber sandwiched together for strength with minimal waste. Check that it’s FSC-certified and made with a non-chemical-based adhesive. Melamine Faced Chipboard (MFC) and Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) can also be eco-friendly if they include recycled timber or chipboard waste.

Ideally, this should be a high proportion of the finished product. Ecoboard is a good choice as it’s made with compressed agricultural by-products such as straw, while reclaimed timber offers a rustic-chic look, but for this option you may have to pay up to 30 per cent more than standard timber units.

Floors and walls

Fast-growing materials such as bamboo and engineered boards made from ethically sourced timber are the most widely available eco-flooring, but they’re not the only option. ‘Resin is a greatly undervalued eco-friendly floor and wall covering,’ explains Isobel Stewart at Sphere 8 (020 8969 0183; sphere8.com). ‘Resin made from natural biopolymers can replicate the look of polished concrete without the huge quantities of water and chemicals needed to produce it.’ Expect to pay around £150 per sqm.

Some porcelain tiles may also contain recycled content, such as the Eco range by Domus (020 8481 9500; domustiles.co.uk). For the walls, look for water-based low-VOC paints or try a company such as Earth Friendly Supplies (0191 296 4344; earthfriendlysupplies.co.uk), which makes its range from waste paint that would otherwise end up in landfill.

Skins and tops

Stainless steel sinks are often made of recycled steel and can be recycled after use. For a more traditional feature, try reclaimed Butler and Belfast designs. Multifunctional taps can also cut water and energy usage. Look for aerators to boost the flow, sparkling water and filter taps that replace the need to buy bottled water and instant hot water taps that only heat what’s required.

‘Our relaunched filtered and hot water system features a “holiday mode” that caps the temperature at 60ºC for lower energy costs,’ explains Paul Bailey at Grohe (0871 200 3414; grohe.co.uk). Instant hot water taps are now more affordable, with prices from £500.

Appliances

Improving technology has enabled many appliances to become more energy-efficient, with connectivity and monitoring sensors poised to improve this further. ‘In our cooling range, thermal insulation and door sealing, inverter compression and electronic or mechanical controls have reduced power consumption,’ explains Stuart Benson at Gorenje (020 8247 3980; gorenje.co.uk).

‘Developments in lighting have had an impact, with LED fixtures with a longer lifecycle and lower energy consumption. As an example of the difference ratings make, comparable refrigerators with A+++ energy-efficiency ratings use 60 per cent less power than those in the A class.’

For more tips and tricks on creating an eco kitchen, purchase the November issue of Grand Designs magazine, out now. 

Kevin McCloud on how our homes give us the chance to reflect and have new experiences

Our editor-at-large ponders how our homes can give us a chance to reflect and have new experiences.
how-our-homes-give-us-the-chance-to-reflect-and-have-new-experiences
5-tricks-to-make-your-bathroom-seem-bigger
Home Improvements

5 clever tricks to make your bathroom seem bigger

Struggling to make your bathroom appear bigger? Take heed of our top 5 tricks and tips to creating the illusion of a bigger with these...
5-contemporary-shower-designs-for-every-space
Home Improvements

5 contemporary shower designs to suit every space

From walk in showers to corner showers, we reveal our top 5 savvy shower ideas for small bathrooms.
biolpg-from-calor-the-greener-gas-for-off-grid-self-builds
Home Improvements

BioLPG from Calor: The greener gas for off-grid self-builds

Ensure your self-build project is eco-friendly, cleaner and greener, with the launch of UK’s first BioLPG fuel supply, available exclusively from Calor.
utilising-only-sustainable-materials-for-the-perfect-baufritz-home
Home Improvements

Utilising only sustainable materials for the perfect Baufritz home

Discover just how Baufritz build a cost-effective, low energy home from utilising only sustainable building materials.
update-your-garden-with-practical-hard-working-composite-boards
Home Improvements

Update your garden with practical hard working composite boards

Update your garden with smart decking that has the look and feel of natural timber.
8-top-kitchen-trends-for-2018
Home Improvements

8 top kitchen trends for 2018

From matt cabinet finishes to hidden extractors fans, these are the top kitchen design trends for 2018.