The second day of my K/BIS experience started with a presentation on “Greening the Kitchen” by architect Peter Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer’s Austin, Texas-based architectural firm specializes in green building practices. His presentation was held at the beautiful ALNO Chicago showroom (ALNO is a kitchen cabinet manufacturer), filled with premium kitchen sinks, faucets and appliances/cabinetry, as well as tubs, shower systems and lav sinks.
Pfeiffer noted that the kitchen uses the most energy in the home - lighting, appliances, gas cooktops - as well as having an impact on indoor air quality. He said that keeping these things in mind and using “green” materials and products when designing a home or remodeling project can significantly cut down electricity usage and volatile organic compounds:
1. Designing a home with more natural lighting will cut the amount of energy needed to run electric lights. Plus, less electric light will also make the home cooler. Also, choose fluorescent and LED lighting, which use less energy and produce less heat.
2. Adding a second story to a home instead of building out will make it easier to heat and cool the home. Those who are concerned with climbing stairs in their later years can relocate the master bedroom to the first floor, thus having the guest bedrooms/bath on the second floor.
3. Using Energy Star-rated appliances will reduce energy consumption, plus they are quieter to operate than older appliances.
4. Keep the humidity in the home to acceptable levels. Washing dishes in the sink or even using the dishwasher can add humidity to a home, which can lead to the creation of bacteria and mold. Properly exhaust kitchen appliances (and bathrooms) at the source to the outside before the humid air can permeate the house.
5. Be careful of oversized range exhaust hoods, however. Without the proper make-up air, they can depressurize a home, taking air from sources such as the chimney or attached garage. This could lead to possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
After Pfeiffer’s presentation - and a great breakfast! - it was back to McCormick Place to see more of the show.
The company also debuted its new low-flow showerheads in five designs. They all use 1.5 gpm, regardless of water pressure.
American Standard has four new air bath collections, and has come out with a new bath overflow drain to allow for deep, soaking baths. The new overflow can add about 2 inches of water to the tub. (Yes, we bath people are very excited about that!)
Also at the booth is a pull-out faucet that doesn’t look like a pull-out. The spray head moves down when you turn the faucet on, and can be turned for different spray patterns. Shut the water off, and the spray head pops up into the main faucet head.
The company has some new lav sinks: five new models of glass lavs have an artistic look; a stainless-steel lav has a softer look than a stainless-steel kitchen sink; and cast-iron lavs have deep basics and contrasting shapes (circular rims and square bottoms).
Kohler also launched round water tile showerheads to complement its square tile heads.
A new entertainment sink is made of stainless steel and has faceted walls, making for an unusual appearance. And Kohler’s new articulated faucet will maintain the exact position it is put in (kind of looks like a robotic arm - too bad it’s manual!).
Sterling was showing a new click-together shower system made of Vikrell. It features a single pivot-point installation system, where panels are snapped into place. No caulking is needed.
The Elkay Design Event was held at a new restaurant in Chicago - La Pomme Rouge. It was a wonderful event, and the décor and atmosphere of the restaurant was fantastic.
Tune in for more on the last day of the show.