Natasha Ginks tells us about her experience
This week on the Sustainable Kitchens Journal, we’re doing something a little different. After finishing a beautiful kitchen installation for Natasha Ginks of Renovate Green, she told us she’d love to give our audience a glimpse into what it’s really like to have a Sustainable Kitchens kitchen designed for your home.
Over to you, Natasha!
Five years ago, we began the renovation our Georgian farmhouse in Oxfordshire. I’d set myself the goal of doing it as ecologically as possible, which meant using natural, sustainable materials. When I stumbled across Sustainable Kitchens, I knew that I’d found a company that shared my vision and passion for sustainability.
I’ll come on to all the eco-elements that we incorporated into our kitchen in a bit; but first I’ll explain the not-so-exciting stuff that Sustainable Kitchens do that makes them stand out in the ‘green’ arena.
Their top priority is building kitchens that last forever. It used to be that the energy used in operating a kitchen over its lifetime (the operational energy) was greater than the sum of all the energy it took to make it (the embodied energy).
But with energy-efficient appliances and our awareness of reducing energy consumption, it’s often the case that the embodied energy of a kitchen is greater than its operational energy.
One of the most significant ways of reducing the environmental impact of a kitchen is to make sure that its embodied energy remains locked up for a long time. This means designing durable, long-life kitchens that can be adapted to changing styles.
This is exactly what SK does. They do it by using solid brass hinges manufactured in the UK; top quality birch plywood for their carcasses; oak (not poplar) for their doors and frames; and hand-painting their kitchens, which makes them easy to touch-up or re-paint completely in a different colour.
Creative ideas and sustainable materials
The other thing that makes Sustainable Kitchens uniquely sustainable is its attitude and approach to new ideas and new materials. I was keen to use reclaimed materials in our kitchen as well as unusual British timbers. Sustainable Kitchens embraced the whole concept. They sourced a heavily graffitied worktop from a school science lab which became our island worktop; and they sent me off to Interesting Timbers in Somerset to choose different British woods, which they crafted into drawer fronts (which you can see below).
Now let’s move on to the features in our kitchen which help to make it eco-friendly:
- There’s the reclaimed island worktop, which SK sourced from Retrouvius, and then painstakingly refinished. What I love about this is that it’s already marked and scratched so we’ve never worried about adding our own.
- There’s my complicated composting and recycling system, which SK designed discretely located drawers and bins for.
- There are open shelves repurposed from scaffold planks.
- There are 4 beautiful drawer fronts, all crafted from British wood from Interesting Timbers.
- There’s the stainless steel worktop made from recycled steel, which will be fully recyclable at the end of its life.
- There’s the oak floor from Chauncey’s, which is re-sawn from old French beams.
- There are the top-rated energy-efficient appliances from Bristol’s Nailsea Electrical.
In my view, Sustainable Kitchens truly live up to their name. All through our project, they embraced and rose to the challenge of designing a kitchen that met the high environmental standards that we’d set for our house.
Author: Natasha Ginks, http://www.renovategreen.co.uk
Thank you Natasha! For any readers who would be interested to see how a kitchen like this fits in with an even bigger renovation, head over to Natasha’s blog, Renovate Green. It offers advice on all of our favourite things: the eco-renovation of houses including energy efficiency, sustainable materials and low impact interiors.