How to Design a Healthy & Sustainable Kitchen
Case Studies, News, Top Faces, Top Projects, Top Trends
March 4, 2021
Going green in the kitchen is good news for the occupants of your home – it not only creates a healthy abode and helps cut energy costs, but it’s kinder to the environment.
Here’s how to boost your eco cred and create a healthy and sustainable kitchen space you’ll love.
If your kitchen carcasses are still in good condition, consider updating them with new handles, benchtops and paint rather than replacing them. Alternatively, shop around for reclaimed or second-hand materials you can use in your new kitchen design. Not only does this avoid materials ending up in landfill, but it means less resources are used to create your new sustainable kitchen space.
You can reduce your kitchen’s carbon footprint by selecting carbon-neutral products, such as Dekton by Cosentino – a beautiful and innovative ultracompact surface with cradle to grave neutrality for its entire life cycle. Another way to shrink your carbon footprint is to select a kitchen from a local manufacturer that uses local suppliers.
Use healthy timber
Most kitchen carcasses are made from pressed timber boards such as MDF that, once installed in your home, release harmful ‘off-gas’ volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment over time. These can cause all manner of nasty side effects, including allergies, headaches and asthma.
For a healthier alternative, choose solid-timber carcasses constructed with non-chemical adhesives. Make sure the timber has been responsibly sourced by checking for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. Another eco-friendly cabinetry material is fast-growing bamboo.
Alternatively, opt for carcasses in E0 MDF or plywood – this represents the lowest level of formaldehyde emissions, which is safer for the occupants of your home.
Choose eco-friendly surfaces
When it comes to benchtops, look for eco-friendly materials such as natural stone, engineered stone or ultracompact surfaces.
An ultracompact surface such as Dekton by Cosentino is a great choice for kitchens – it’s durable, stain, scratch- and heat-resistant, and can be used on benchtops, floors, islands and splashbacks. Some of the latest styles score top marks for sustainability too, such as Dekton Trilium, which is made from up to 80 per cent recycled materials and is inspired by volcanic stone, with intense grey and black touches.
Cosentino’s Silestone Loft range is another eco-friendly option. It features exclusive HybriQ+ technology, which is made with 20 per cent recycled materials, including reused glass, and 90 per cent less crystalline silica (a naturally occurring mineral that can cause silicosis when inhaled during fabrication). It is also produced using 100 per cent renewable energy and 98 per cent recycled water. The long-lasting finish is available in five stunning colours drawn from different concrete looks.
Get up to speed on VOCs
VOCs aren’t just found in kitchen cabinetry – they can be present in paint, flooring, furnishings and just about anywhere in our homes. Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is particularly common in adhesives and resins.
Keep your indoor environment healthy by painting your kitchen walls and cabinetry in low- or zero-VOC paints. Choose flooring that’s low in VOCs, such as Dekton or Silestone by Cosentino, cork, linoleum, reclaimed hardwood or bamboo. For splashbacks, opt for eco-friendly tiles such as recycled glass – and consider large-format styles with fewer grout lines that reduce the chance of harmful mould forming.
Opt for eco-friendly sealants
Even natural, eco-friendly materials can be a problem if you apply the wrong oils and sealants. Look for sealers that are labelled ‘food-grade’ or ‘child-safe’ and use natural oils rather than petrochemical sealants.
Include adequate ventilation
Biophilic design is a term we’re hearing a lot about in the design world right now, and for good reason; it’s about integrating nature into the design of your home to positively impact your mood and wellbeing. You can apply the principles of biophilic design to your kitchen by making sure there’s adequate natural light, ventilation and touches of nature, whether that’s a view through to the garden or indoor plants.
Explore more options for Cosentino kitchen surface applications here.