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Environmental Link Creates Kitchens of Tomorrow - Creating the Eco-Friendly Home Appliance

Oct 8, 2007
Accessible technology, restaurant-style quality and high-end design are emerging not merely as trends, but requirements for today's home enthusiasts. Add to that the desire for design and home appliance choices that reflect environmental sustainability and it's clear that the kitchens of tomorrow have a lot to live up to.

The Kitchen Rises to the Occasion

In the past, the kitchen served a utilitarian role where people gathered for the basic purpose of cooking and eating. The kitchen will continue to be a central gathering place in the future but on a more social level. For example, it has become the room of choice to entertain guests, featuring all the equipment you need...including the wine cellar. The kitchen will also gain greater control of the rest of the household with touch screen computers allowing consumers to control a variety of aspects of the home including lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment systems, security and more, bringing the focus to the kitchen like never before.

Green - The Newest Colour Trend in Kitchens

Along with the kitchen changing to a more social centre, going "green" with appliances and materials is becoming more common. There are two interpretations of "green" - the first is the more universal thought, that "green" means environmentally sustainable materials and/or appliances that are more conservative when it comes to resource use (electricity and water consumption being the main focuses there. The second is the actual health impacts on those interacting with the materials and appliances. For instance, some cabinet interiors use pressed woods. The sealants and binders for these woods can experience "off-gassing," expelling urea formaldehyde into the immediate environment. This can be a problem for those sensitive to conditions that affect air quality. Instead, particularly sensitive individuals, or those concerned with possible adverse health effects may need to make use of alternatives such as Agra board or wheat board for those interiors. For the environmentally sustainable aspects, bamboo has become a hot material since it quickly reaches maturity.

Energy Star-labeled appliances fit with specific environmental guidelines, offering consumers energy-efficient options, making it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future generations. Many refrigerators and dishwashers bear this environmentally friendly label. Other options for "going green" include choosing an induction cooktop, allowing for more efficient energy use. Although many of the "green" treatments we're beginning to see in North America have been on the market for some time in Europe, expect to see an even greater increase in the use of materials and appliances under this category as more provinces look to address issues regarding shortages of resources or landfill areas.

Practical Design for the Home Chef

In terms of design, hot trends for kitchens right now include the integration of multiple materials, such as granite or marble countertops with floating glass counters off of them (to provide a place for people to sit and interact with a cook). Wood counters are being introduced to create a warmer feel to the kitchen, while stainless steel is being used from a practical standpoint in regards to food prep and easy cleanup. Another trend can be seen in the expansion of the classic work triangle to provide additional room to welcome the help of a second person when it comes to preparing a meal.

Counter-depth refrigerators are reflecting the style and integration of build-in models. Technology is becoming more and more a part of the kitchen: ovens that can accurately measure the internal temperature of meat, poultry and liquid-based casseroles, and can automatically convert conventional times and temperatures to their convection oven equivalents; dishwashers that clean with steam and have sensors to determine if plates are clean; and humidity-controlled crispers that add just the right amount of moisture to fruit and vegetables. A trend that had been big years ago is making a comeback - vent hoods are again being displayed as a focal point. These hoods have beautiful detail and a look that helps compliment the surroundings. New over the-range microwave-hood combination ovens offer seamless design and a space saving option. Professional- grade appliances will become more popular in high-end kitchens to improve functionality and offer the details that matter to those who love to cook.

While technology and functional design improvements will increase the capacity and output of the home's hub, green design elements will help decrease the impact on its occupants' health and the external environment.
About the Author
KitchenAid major home appliance products are the choice for producing great results. Offers refrigerators, dishwashers, kitchen appliances and accessories.
http://www.kitchenaid.ca/
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