With the media buzzing with talk of sustainability, it’s easy to get mixed messages about how to make simple, cost-effective, sustainable changes in your home. Below, Jennifer Braxton, marketing and public relations manager at IKEA, offers five easy fixes that anyone can employ for a more efficient and energy friendly home. (And thanks to IKEA for supplying the materials for the Flower Show’s Culinary Room.)
Jennifer recommends starting in the kitchen. “Forty percent of electricity expenditure comes from the kitchen,” says Jennifer. “As the heart of the home, the kitchen should be an inviting space where family and friends can get together while keeping waste at a minimum.”
1) Waste Not Want Not
Food waste is a very common infraction. The average household’s discarded food volume is twenty to thirty percent per week. “Be wise with your weekly menu planning,” says Braxton. “Invest in quality food storage containers to prevent spoiling and for freezing excess.” Also, consider composting food scraps for use in your garden or flowerbeds.
2) Nature’s Cleanser
Lemon is a staple in every home, from delicious recipes, to cocktails and iced tea. Not only is lemon a wonderful aromatic, it’s useful as functional décor. But before you trash that squeezed lemon, consider a quick clean up. “Wiping down your tea kettle or faucet with a lemon is a very effective, all natural cleanser.” Lemon juice cuts through stains and lime deposits. “It’s a fume free alternative to harsh chemical cleaners,” Braxton says.
3) Tea for One
It’s no secret that a microwave is a bachelor or bachelorette’s best friend. But did you know that when making a single cup of tea, the microwave is the most energy efficient way to warm water? An electric tea kettle comes in a close second. For more creative ideas, Braxton says “consider using an electric kettle the next time you boil a potato or an egg, as the kettle uses far less energy than boiling a full pot of water.”
4) Where Can Your Garden Grow
If your home is simply too small for an outdoor garden, consider utilizing small spaces like a window sill, or even a large indoor planter, to grow herbs. No green thumb necessary; many herbs are simple to plant, and grow robust and hearty with ease. Jennifer suggests using the web to get started. “There are plenty of online resources for the first time indoor herb gardener to access.” With just a little bit of effort you have plenty of homegrown, organic herbs to kick up the flavor in your food and even gift to friends.
5) This Little Light, Oh My!
Good lighting is a must have in any functional kitchen. If you cannot afford a large scale lighting overhaul, but are underwhelmed by your current fixtures, incorporate LED technology. According to Braxton, “Transitioning to LED lighting, even on a small scale, saves considerable time and money.” LED bulbs use only 4.2W of energy and last 50,0000 hours, 50 times longer than the standard incandescent bulb. IKEA is currently selling their JANSJÖ LED lamp, regularly priced at $39.99 for an astonishingly economical $9.99. “IKEA knows it’s important for our customers to have access to energy saving options at an affordable price,” says Braxton. “Efficient living is cost effective living. IKEA is committed to extending cost effective living options to our customers every day.”
Learn more about cost- and energy-saving tips at the IKEA Sustainable Kitchens Workshop on Saturday, April 16th at 2pm at IKEA South Philadelphia, 2206 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19148.