To make the outdoor living comfortable in the winter Steve Easley installed two Infratech CD series 6000-watt electric infrared heaters.

Grill Green: Creating an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Kitchen

The design and construction of outdoor living spaces has spiked over the past few years. The primary reason is attributed to the pandemic, incentivizing homeowners to find new ways to use and enjoy the living spaces readily available to them.

This invigorated interest in new ways to utilize the home’s outdoor spaces even has a fancy name – biophilic – which, according to Merriam-Webster, means to “show the human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature.” In other words, people have an innate desire to connect with nature at physical, mental, and social levels.

Frequently included in these rejuvenated outdoor spaces are designs for luxury outdoor kitchens. These builds are more than simple grills and a mini fridge. The modern outdoor kitchen is an extension of the indoor living space, providing the full range of cooking options available inside the home, and allowing for regular dining, entertainment, and even stay-cationing.

Why Go Green?

There are many reasons to consider designing a green outdoor kitchen, including a desire to achieve environmental goals or simply a personal choice. In some cases, such as multi-family dwellings, the use of open flame is not permitted, requiring electric alternatives if outdoor cooking is to be available to residents. Whatever the reason, the building of green outdoor kitchens is a growing trend that is likely to continue.

It Starts with the Grill

When designing an eco-friendly outdoor kitchen, the obvious piece of outdoor kitchen equipment to consider is an electric grill. Substituting propane or natural-gas fueled grills for electric models has not always been a satisfactory option. For many years, an outdoor electric grill was simply an underpowered indoor unit, delivering an underwhelming culinary experience.

The Fire Magic EL500 Electric Grill is specially designed for luxury outdoor kitchens.

That lackluster scenario has changed recently. Premium electric grills that cook at high temperatures and deliver results on par with gas or propane models are now available. For example, the new EL500 Electric Grill from Fire Magic has been specially engineered for use in high-end outdoor kitchens. The grill is full size, offers dual thermostatic control, features unique cooking grids designed to maximize flavor and cooks at temperatures up to 700 degrees, delivering the perfect sear discerning home chefs demand, all in a fully electric package.

Looking beyond the Grill

A well-appointed outdoor kitchen incorporates much more than a grill. There are refrigerators, warming drawers, as well as electrical outlets, lights, infrared heaters, and perhaps entertainment equipment like speakers and TVs.

As part of the building’s overall sustainable approach, builders, architects, and homeowners must consider available green-energy sources that can be incorporated into the structure. Solar panels are the obvious choice, serving a multitude of the building’s electric needs, including those of the outdoor kitchen. A well-designed sustainable home is capable of supporting all of its electric needs, both inside and outside.

Steve Easley selected the Fire Magic EL500 for his Green Builder Magazine demonstration home.

To create a sustainable dwelling, including the outdoor kitchen, be sure to assess the energy mix of the utility. Utility companies that are implementing renewable sources to offset fossil fuels are the ideal.

Think Long Term

One of the most important aspects of designing a truly sustainable outdoor kitchen is to invest in quality equipment. The “greenest” intentions can be quickly scuttled if the electric grill, fridge, or other pieces of outdoor kitchen equipment has to be replaced every few years.

Look for outdoor kitchen appliances that are made from high-quality, long-lasting materials, such as 304 stainless steel. Research products with a strong warranty. This offers peace of mind knowing the company will stand behind the quality of their products.

Part of the sustainability equation when evaluating appliance replacement includes replacement of adjoining elements, such as countertops or drawers. Factoring in the energy footprint of the full replacement quickly demonstrates that the gains of sustainable electric design can be quickly lost with just a couple equipment replacements. This makes an investment in high-quality equipment of paramount importance.

Vacationing Closer to Home is Greener

The ability to find relaxation and personal satisfaction in the backyard has allowed people to enjoy staycations, a greener alternative to traveling long distances by car or plane for vacations. More and more homeowners are choosing to invest their vacation money into outdoor living spaces they can enjoy all year round. Luxury backyards with relaxing attributes like outdoor dining spaces, kitchens, and pools save homeowners time and money, while reducing fossil fuel usage, all the while providing an ultra-convenient opportunity to relax and recharge.


The design of a sustainable outdoor kitchen starts with its components. Environmentally conscious decisions enable architects and builders to create luxury outdoor kitchens that satisfy the dining, entertainment, and even vacation needs of homeowners within a sustainable outdoor setting.,

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