Constructing homes and completing projects that are safer on the Earth is increasingly important to residential professionals and homeowners, so we rounded up seven eco-friendly kitchen and bath products in honor of Earth Day.
More Americans want products that offer a nod to nature, whether it’s in their backsplashes, flooring, or the design of their spaces. Outdoor living and that indoor/outdoor connection are hot considerations for today’s home design, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2021 Design Trends Report, which says organic/natural design shot up in popularity this year.
NKBA’s study found that 68% of surveyed residential professionals expect organic/natural bathroom design to grow over the next three years, but blended styles are also increasing, for example, a modern bathroom with elements of nature. Natural/organic design also made the top list for kitchen design with contemporary and transitional rounding out the top designs as second and first place, respectively.
Aesthetics aside, homeowners are also interested in appliances and products that treat the Earth better. Smart technology in both the kitchen and bathroom are important to tech-savvy homeowners, and the NKBA’s study also identified water conservation technology as a sought out product.
Next time a client requests a specific product, consider seeking one that offers energy conservation features. Examples include a sustainable wood for hardwood flooring or a WaterSense-certified matte black kitchen faucet.
Here are seven eco-friendly kitchen and bath products.
Pioneer Millworks offers a robust selection of reclaimed wood products such as flooring, exteriors, paneling, and custom options. The company has more than 30 sustainable and reclaimed wood options from its mills in Oregon and New York. Wood products come from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests and tree farms. In addition, many options are UL GreenGUARD gold, meaning the product passes emissions testing and would maintain healthy indoor air quality. Pioneer Millworks has also created its own engineered wood collection that is FSC-certified, formaldehyde-free, low-VOC, and made in the U.S.
Energy Star named Cooper Lighting Solutions its Partner of the Year in 2015 and 2016. For 2017 through 2021, the company received the award for Sustained Excellence by Energy Star. Its HALO line of recessed downlights, track, canless, and under-cabinet lights include dozens of Energy Star-rated options in various sizes, with varying lumens, with indoor and outdoor use. Its SeleCCTable Undercabinet light meets several needs designers are seeing from their clients: charging ports, a sleek appearance, and matte black finishes. It's Energy Star certified, comes with a five-year warranty, offers five different lengths, features a motion sensor, and light temperature selections.
Surfaces - Polycor
When it comes to natural materials, anything local will ultimately be better for the environment. Going local cuts down on emissions from transportation and it keeps local economies thriving. Polycor is one natural surface brand with quarries in Georgia, Indiana, Vermont, and Canada. Polycor quarries and plants received silver and gold certifications from the Natural Stone Council’s ANSI/NSC 373 certification recognizing top-tier sustainability for natural dimension stone. Companies with this recognition run energy-efficient operations with low carbon impacts, minimal freshwater use, safe chemicals, low amount of excess material wasted, unbroken chain of certified organizations, responsible reclamation of land, and more.
Cooking - Profile Induction Cooktop by GE
Induction ranges heat pots and pans through electromagnetic copper coils rather than gas or electric. These ranges have been receiving extra attention during the past decade as more manufacturers create new options and their benefits are more widely recognized. You can read all about induction cooking here. GE’s Profile induction cooktop features smart burners that adjust to the size of a pan, only providing what is needed, offers protection from unintended activation with a lock capability, and features five induction areas. GE also offers full induction ranges.
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According to Air King, the company offers the largest selection of Energy Star-certified ventilation products. Air King has ventilation products for both the bath and kitchen, two areas where air quality is known to be the worst, and areas where lots of time is spent. And as Americans spend more time in the kitchen, a silent ventilation hood is a big benefit. These Energy Star-certified hoods are available in white, black, and stainless steel in 24, 30, and 36 inches.
Dishwasher - Tall Tub WiFi Connected Carbon Fiber Dishwasher by Beko
Dishwashers are one of the top appliances that homeowners replace in a kitchen project, according to Houzz’s 2021 Kitchen Trends Study. Beko’s Wi-Fi-enabled, Energy Star-certified tall tub dishwasher can wash up to 16 place settings and features the “world’s first” chemical-free odor remover, claims the company. This means the dishwasher neutralizes and removes any odors without the use of chemicals. The European brand entered the U.S. market about four years ago and received an Energy Star Sustained Excellence award for the third consecutive year in 2021.
Shower Seat - QuickDrain USA
QuickDrain USA’s customizable shower bench addresses the need for accessible and sustainable design. It’s ADA-compliant and made entirely from recycled content. The bench is constructed from PET, or polyethylene terephthalate plastic foam panels, which are made from recycled water bottles. Each bench saves 400 water bottles from a landfill.