More and more people are going green these days—whether it’s as simple as reducing how much plastic they use (reusable straws, anyone?) or as complicated as using sustainable materials for various products. There are homeowners who even go so far as to invest in a kitchen , bathroom, —or even whole house remodel—in order to make their house more eco-friendly.
This gives them the assurance that they’re making a big environmental impact while potentially saving some money in the long run.
Of all possible home remodels you can invest in, a kitchen remodel is perhaps one the smartest decisions you can make. When you remodel your kitchen, you can make itso it fits your style—and lifestyle—instead of the previous owner’s.
There are a lot of ways to personalize your kitchen and a lot of elements you can change while still keeping the whole of it eco-friendly. In this article, we’re going to stick to the lighting.
Eco-Friendly Lighting Options
Several years ago, eco-friendly lighting was usually any variation of compact fluorescent lamps—or CFLs. They were good for the environment, but their visual appeal left much to be desired. There were just so many more visual and aesthetic options for incandescent lights. So even though they were bad for the environment, homeowners gravitated towards them.
But now that LED lights are offering more designer options that’s no longer true.
Before we dive in, we want to preface this by saying that eco-friendly kitchen lighting is so much more than switching out old bulbs for more modern and energy-efficient models.
A kitchen remodeler will tell you to start with the big picture. It’s better to consider the overall look or feel that you want for your kitchen so you can figure out what kind of lighting you’re going for. Then you can pinpoint where to place those lights.
That said, here are a few ideas for eco-friendly lighting you can use for your kitchen remodel:
Let the Light In
When it comes to being eco-friendly, nothing beats natural light. Expert kitchen remodelers recommend north- and south-facing windows so you can let in light without the associated heat that comes from windows that face east and west.
Don’t be afraid to trade in upper cabinets for taller windows; there are other storage options besides those cabinets, and you’ll have more illumination that way.
If you really don’t have that much storage space in your kitchen and need upper cabinets, don’t fret. You can have both by employing under-cabinet windows, and using highly reflective surfaces to redistribute the light that comes in.
Another way to let more light in without sacrificing wall storage space is by having a skylight installed. Then, you’ll barely need to turn on any indoor lights during the day time hours, especially if your main work space is situated under it.
Mind the Switch
There are three kinds of lighting you can use in your kitchen: ambient, task, and accent lighting.
Ambient lighting is used to light up a room just enough for people to see what they’re doing, but not brightly enough to hurt the eyes (and eat up a lot of electricity). Recessed lights in the ceiling and uplighting on top of upper cabinets are both good ways to provide ambient light.
Task lighting, as the name implies, is used for specific tasks. Pendant lights over a central island and under-cabinet lighting are both examples of task lighting. Finally, accent lighting is used for visual interest, not to mention complement the first two types and add a little more illumination if needed.
You obviously don’t need all three types on at the same time, so making sure each one has its own switch is a good idea. Then you can turn on only those lights you need at a specific time. Preparing and cooking food? Turn on your task and accent lights. Entering the kitchen as night approaches. Use your ambient lights.
Dial Things Up
If you don’t like the idea of different types of lighting, maybe you’ll feel better about being able to adjust the brightness of your lights.
Switching out your regular switches for dimmers means you get different levels of lighting to suit what you’re doing in the kitchen, giving your lighting better flexibility. Also, also dimming a light can reduce your electrical cost as well as extend the life of the bulb.
The great thing about these lighting ideas is, you don’t have to use just one option in your kitchen remodel. It’s your home and your kitchen, so if you feel it will benefit from using two or even all three to some extent, go right ahead! Have floor-to-ceiling windows on one side and the counter and storage space on the other, with accent lighting on your kitchen’s central island. Then use dimmer switches with your ambient lighting.
Whichever idea or combination of ideas you use, just remember: there’s nothing to lose, especially if you consult an expert about your kitchen lighting before you start the remodeling project.