The kitchen isn’t just the most-used room in the home: it’s frequently the least eco-friendly. When you’re ready for an update, planning a green kitchen remodel will leave you with a beautiful and environmentally-friendly kitchen to be proud of. You can accomplish this green renovation simply by choosing sustainable materials for your flooring and cabinetry, and buying energy-saving appliances. We’ve rounded up the top options in each category to make it easy to achieve a greener kitchen.

Greener Kitchen Flooring

It’s easy to overlook the environmental impact of your flooring choices, but choosing sustainable kitchen flooring is the literal foundation of a green renovation. It also comes with many benefits. You’ll conserve resources and keep toxins out of the environment, while enjoying a healthier and better insulated home. Some of the top green flooring choices for the kitchen are:

Cork

Cork is the king of green flooring materials. Since only the cork tree’s bark is needed to make products, the tree itself remains intact and able to provide cleaner air and wildlife habitat. Cork is durable while still feeling soft underfoot—important factors in a room that gets as much traffic as the kitchen.

Cork floor for a green kitchen remodel.

Image: iCork Floor Store

Linoleum

Don’t cringe: linoleum is often confused with the tacky kind of vinyl flooring everyone loves to hate, but true linoleum is a totally different material. Linoleum is available in a huge variety of beautiful colors and patterns, and can go a decade (longer for some brands) without showing wear. It is also made from completely natural and toxin-free materials, making it an ideal choice for a green kitchen remodel.

Linoleum floors for a green kitchen remodel.

Image: The Kitchen Decorating

Concrete

Concrete is an increasingly popular flooring option. It saves you money on energy costs by providing excellent insulation and it’s insanely durable. Both of these factors make it perfect for a green kitchen remodel. And there’s no need to worry that your kitchen will look too industrial. A concrete floor can be finished in a variety of stylish colors and patterns.

Concrete floor for a green kitchen remodel.

Image: Decoist

Sustainable Materials for Cabinetry

A green kitchen remodel needs green storage options. Traditional wood cabinets take a significant environmental toll, so this is an important area to pay attention to when working toward a greener kitchen. Luckily, you can now find cabinetry made from a variety of sustainable materials. Some of the top options include:

Bamboo

For those who want solid wood cabinetry, bamboo is by far the greenest option. Due to its rapid growth rate, bamboo is the most sustainable hardwood, as well as one of the most affordable. As an added bonus for the klutzes among us, it’s also more durable than its less-sustainable, more-expensive counterparts.

Bamboo cabinets for a green renovation.

Image: Home Style Choices

Wheatboard

Wheatboard is a material made from recycled grain stalks. Farmers benefit from this process because it increases the yield of their crops. The environment benefits since farmers don’t have to burn or dispose of the excess stalks. And you benefit from a beautiful, affordable and sustainable cabinet option.

Wheatboard cabinets for a green renovation.

Image: Oppein Group

Green Appliances for a Green Kitchen Remodel

To complete your green renovation, you need to stock your kitchen with green appliances. The best way to do this is to choose Energy Star-rated appliances. By using less energy, these appliances not only lower greenhouse gas emissions but can also lower your energy bill. In fact, the savings are significant enough that it makes sense to replace every appliance that is more than 10 years old with an Energy Star-rated version. But if you can’t replace everything, these are the two you should focus on:

Dishwasher

Most people assume that washing dishes by hand is better for the environment, but it turns out you don’t have to give up the convenience of your dishwasher to achieve a greener kitchen. Numerous studies show that running an Energy Star-rated dishwasher actually uses less water and energy than washing by hand, as long as you only run it for full loads.

Energy Star-rated dishwasher.

Refrigerator

In most kitchens, the refrigerator is the biggest energy-hog. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, investing in a new one now can buy you significant savings over time. If you can’t purchase a new one, consider having a new seal installed. A tighter seal will ensure your fridge’s temperature remains properly regulated, reducing its energy use.

Energy Star-rated refrigerator.

Image: Maurizio Pesce; CC by 2.0

Trying some of these green kitchen remodel ideas out yourself? Let us know in the comments! Need help getting rid of your old flooring, cabinetry, appliances and other remodeling debris? We can help you find the right dumpster size to haul it all away.