With kitchens being the one space in the home that uses the most resources on a daily basis, were seeing that eco kitchens are also set to become smart kitchens – learning and adapting user behaviour – minimising resource input to maximise output -might even bring a smile to the eco side of Grodon Ramsay !
But what are the key products and materials that we are seeing making their way into the heart of the future home?
As we mentioned previously, Woolly pockets are a great way of introducing plants into the home, providing not only a green air filtration system but also create smart walls. So why not introduce them in the Kitchen. They are a great idea for growing your own herbs and vegetables, allowing for you to have them readily available right there in your own kitchen. Why buy them when you can grow them?
Or how about this Nano Garden concept for the future? It is a vegetable garden which uses hydroponics to help the plants grow. The Nano Garden has integrated lighting along with water and nutrient supplies which is fully controllable allowing the user to be in charge of the speed at which the plants grow. Once again thanks to the plants, it also functions as an air purifier which will also help eliminate unwanted smells.
Why not use your food waste to produce your own compost for your plants. The Parasite Farm is an indoor compost system which can be hung on your kitchen table and used to feed plant boxes which fit neatly into your bookshelf. It’s a really clever idea for composting in even really small spaces.
If you’re not particularly green fingered, composting is still a great way to dispose of your food scrap, I’m sure there’s family or a friend who would be truly grateful of organic compost for their plants. The Nature Mill is the king of indoor composting. It automates the whole process and eliminates user error to recycle its own weight in waste every ten days, diverting over two tons of waste from landfills over its lifetime. It uses about 30p of energy per month, much less than a garbage truck would use in diesel fuel taking the same waste away. And it’s also made from recycled materials.
3D printing is growing at a huge rate, it’s fast becoming something which wouldn’t be out of place in a ‘home office’ rather than something you would stumble across if you were really lucky. So how about the idea of printing your next meal? ‘Food is the next frontier of 3D printing’ according to printing expert Janne Kyttanen. In order to show how 3D printing can transform the way we eat he has produced printed prototypes of pasta, breakfast cereals and burgers. He believes it is only a matter of time before technology enables us to print molecules in a combination that will produce edible and flavoursome meals. Just think, the future of dinner parties could be extremely different, no more slaving over a hot stove. . .
But more than just tell you when youre missing a key ingredient, Smart Kitchens will also help you to cook better.
Researchers from Japan have come up with a solution to enable appliances to help you to cook. The idea is to add video cameras and projectors into a ceiling kitchen, which then in turn track ingredients’ locations and overlay instructions on to them to help you while you cook. This way you won’t have to take your eyes off the food while you’re preparing it. Future kitchens could see an integration of thermal sensors and recipe-recognition algorithms, sending out an alert if you forget to add an ingredient!
This concept from Electrolux called ‘Heart of the Home’ is an intelligent, interchangeable cooking surface which adapts to the user needs. The user simply places their ingredients on the surface, it will then analyse these and present a list of suitable recipe ideas. After deciding on a recipe, the user then marks an area with their hand to determine how large the cooking area should be. The desired depth of the surface is created by simply pressing your hand against the malleable material. After achieving the required width and dept to cook your food in, all that’s left to do is to set the temperature and time with a simple touch of the finger.
Due to food preparation and other things which happen in the kitchen it is extremely important the worktops are kept clean. But because of contamination risks, it is important we don’t use any harmful chemicals when cleaning down the surfaces. The fight against germs including E.Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria is one of the biggest battles you’ll have in the kitchen. It is an ideal environment for the growth of microbes such as bacteria, mould and mildew. Did you know that if left unchecked, bacteria levels can double every 20 minutes on a kitchen surface?!
Microban Antibacterial protection fights against the grow of these harmful microbes, however it is not a substitute for normal cleaning routines, but provides additional protection between cleans.
Consentino have produced a quartz worktop called ‘Silestone’ which, since 2005, has incorporated Microban antibacterial technology into its make-up. Silestone is the first quartz kitchen worktop in the world to use Microban.
A well stocked kitchen is home to some of the most draining appliances found in your home. The appliances typically make up around 30% of a home’s total energy consumption, here the Energy Saving Trust have created some top tips to cutting down on the energy used;
- Check what you have in the fridge or freezer before you go shopping, wasted food is a big contributor to Carbon Dioxide emissions.
- Only the boil the water you need in your kettle.
- Cut food into smaller pieces to speed up cooking time.
- Keep lids on pans as much as possible to reduce heat loss.
- Keep the oven door shut as much as possible
- Freeze your leftovers if you don’t eat them the next day.
- Make sure you have a full load if you’re using a dishwasher – a half load setting usually uses more than half the energy of a full load.
One of the easiest ways to save energy in the kitchen is to ensure all your appliances have a good energy rating. Many appliances made in the past few years come with an ‘Eco’ setting on them which can reduce the amount of energy used. Also keep an eye out for the EU energy label which shows the energy efficiency of a product as well as energy consumption, water consumption, and noise levels.
Because it is constantly switched on, the fridge is the main energy guzzler found in the kitchen. However this concept from the Electrolux Design Lab could change the way we refrigerate and store our food. Instead of having a giant box which takes up lots of room, the concept is made up of a refrigeration wall which visibly holds your food and drink for you. ‘Impress’ will not refrigerate when there is nothing in it, saving on any wasteful energy consumption – impressive!
The smart Kitchen of the future will seamlessly integrate resource efficiency whilst helping you to create healthier cooking spaces and help you to become a better cook. Sounds delicious!