Sustainable elegance: The rise of kitchens with a conscience

KitchensFeatures Fri 31st May 2024 by Lisa Hibberd

Sustainable elegance: The rise of kitchens with a conscience

Sustainable elegance: The rise of kitchens with a conscience

Feature by Lisa Hibberd | Fri 31st May 2024

Lisa has a background in working on consumer titles, and as the former associate editor of Your Home magazine, over 15 years' experience writing about kitchens and bathrooms. She now works as a freelance, contributing to both consumer and B2B platforms. More

With conscious kitchen design becoming a must for many eco-savvy clients, brands are extending their offerings as well as further educating their retailers. Lisa Hibberd discovers how manufacturers are continuing to respond to what is not just a trend, but a lifestyle choice.

“As the millennials and Gen Z come of age, our research indicates that sustainability is an increasingly important factor when it comes to making big ticket purchases, so I believe that our industry’s efforts will be reflected in growth in the years ahead, says Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt. “Learning about everything from construction to logistics has now become part of the customer journey, as interior trends predict a growing investment in clear conscience design that benefits both home and lifestyle. Whether that be sourcing and production, through to packaging and delivery, shopping with a conscience has become the norm for many homeowners and this year it will become an integral part of the kitchen design conversation as brands are open about their policies.”

Shown on its bestselling Zerox furniture range, Grigio Londra is the latest addition to Rotpunkt’s Fenix collection. All Rotpunkt furniture is designed and created under the company’s award-winning Together to Zero climate strategy. Crafted from Greenline BioBoard Gen2, this kitchen is made using a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional chipboards, so consists of up to 90% recycled wood

Franke’s new Mythos Water Hub J-Spout instant boiling water tap is made from premium stainless steel which has a long life span and is 100% recyclable at the end of its life. It features the Pro M Connect Filter for enhanced water purity, so can reduce a household’s plastic bottle waste. It offers a choice of filtered ambient, chilled, sparkling water and instant boiling water at the touch of a button, in addition to standard hot and cold mains water

Simon Collyns, marketing and retail director at Symphony Group, believes that consumers are more keen than ever to understand the eco credentials and benefits of the products they are buying. “It is very important that retailers are fully informed on the sustainable products, features and technologies they sell so they can talk confidently to their customers. For example, when demonstrating water efficient taps, explain how much water can be saved. Offer energy-efficient lighting and low carbon products such as furniture made from recycled or sustainable materials – know the exact composition and percentage of recycled materials used."

Symphony’s Costina Kitchen in Fresca has a vertical ribbed design and is made from 100% recycled board, offering retailers a great talking point when discussing sustainable options with clients

As with all of Neolith’s surfaces, Cappadocia Sunset, shown here, is made up of a natural composition, using a selection of raw materials, and is 100% recyclable. The elegant design has been inspired by the rocky formations of the Cappadocia region in central Turkey

“When it comes to the kitchen and laundry areas, energy-efficient appliances are steadily growing in popularity as consumers seek to save money, as well as show their appetite for shopping with a conscience,” suggests Steve Jones, managing director at Sirius. “Given the amount of product information available online, some customers merely want to see a product in the flesh before making a purchase while others will be keen to establish exactly how noisy an appliance may be. We are finding that sustainable products are also supporting the wellness trend as more and more homeowners explore unique solutions to enhance their quality of life – in terms of having bespoke laundry and utility areas as well as hybrid kitchen living spaces which can also include home office elements. Practical luxury and sustainable design are definitely high on the wish list as homeowners want to create lifestyle interiors for the long-haul. Across the UK increasingly discerning end users are weighing up their options in terms of a higher upfront cost for long-term rewards and the reassurance of a premium brand focusing on what is the best bang for their buck right now, given cost of living constraints.”

In February 2024, Electrolux Group, including premium appliance brand AEG, became the latest Approved Supplier to join Sirius Buying Group. AEG’s 8000 AbsoluteCare® range of laundry appliances are ideal for eco-conscious consumers. The tumble dryer uses heat pump technology to ensure items get only the exact amount of heat they need, keeping energy consumption low, while the advanced humidity sensors of ProSense+ help save time and energy

Sachsenküchen’s new high quality Leona furniture range is crafted from linoleum – a purely a natural product made from renewable raw materials such as linseed oil, sawdust, limestone powder and natural colour pigments. The door front consists of 81% naturally renewable materials and is manufactured using 58.4% electricity from renewable energy

“Retailer training on the sustainability features of products is crucial, as consumers are more aware than ever about the impact that their choices have on the planet and want to understand a product’s eco credentials,” says Tom Hopper, Kitchens Manager at Miele GB. “Make sure you know them and can communicate the benefits of spending more on an appliance that has been made using mostly sustainable materials and the lower running cost of energy consumption. Miele offers an award-winning training programme for its retail partners which explains all benefits and points of difference to help inform and give sales advisors complete confidence in selling its products. When it comes to displaying in store – we have found that it is beneficial to use active models to help demonstrate and educate. Position yourselves as real experts and authorities in this area to set yourselves apart from your competitors – offer real value with your advice to ensure your customers feel they are doing the right thing for both their own pocket and the environment.”

Miele’s G 7460 SCVi fully integrated dishwasher boasts a range of features to satisfy even the most climate-conscious client. A rated for energy efficiency, it has 12 programmes, and also benefits from Miele’s AutoDos with PowerDisk for automatic detergent dispensing, helping to reduce waste and save time and money. In addition, all Miele dishwashers can be connected to hot water at up to 60˚C, helping to save up to 50% electricity

Retailers can impress customers with the eco credentials of Daval’s Renzo furniture Character Oak. Shown here in Character Oak Tobacco and paired with Savoy Matt Lichenade, it’s made from 100% recycled wood

Tim Spann, national sales manager UK for Keller Kitchens, recommends that plenty of support is given to retailers in order to successfully promote their eco-friendly ethos. “For our part we offer kitchen furniture produced by the most sustainable means possible and promote sustainability as our number one USP. By doing this, we are bringing consumers to the door who are looking for planet friendly solutions. Whilst sustainability is for all we are seeing that the younger generations are naturally more engaged with the subject. We offer our partners product training and POS collateral to support the efforts of retailers setting themselves out as the sustainable option in their area, and we have an extensive programme of PR and social media promoting our stance, achievements and products.”

Keller kitchens today are produced by the only Carbon Neutral mass manufacturer of kitchens, produced by the most sustainable means possible. Keller and parent group DKG are now working on bio-based kitchens which will be produced using a mix of recycled materials, abundantly renewable materials and bio-based cellulose binders. These products, due to be released this year, will take the company’s sustainability credentials to a higher level and will take Keller a step nearer to its goal of being 100% bio-based products by 2030. Shown above is the new Nature’s Choice kitchen – an elegant scheme which highlights natural tones and textures

“The UK population is expected to grow by another six million by 2043, and as an industry leader we are keenly aware of our responsibility to protect the environment and save precious resources such as energy and water,” says Paul Illingworth, design manager at Abode. “We are finding that developing sustainable products, services and practices goes hand in hand with our core values of passion, innovation and assurance in luxury interior design. Monitoring lifestyle trends and future projections underpins our approach and I believe there is always room for improvement and new ideas. Concerns about water management are likely to become increasingly prevalent due to our changing climate, ageing population and housing supply shortage. In fact, experts are pressing for increased drought resilience measures in England as the UK is one of the highest consumers of water in Europe. In view of this, everyone in the kitchen industry has an opportunity to help buyers save time, money and energy with products which will assist a more considered approach to using water as well as responding to the rising cost of living.

With brassware under the eco spotlight too, water-saving designs such as Abode’s AT2197 Naturalé Aquifier Water Filter Tap are gaining popularity. The single lever handle controls the water with cold start valve integration, helping to reduce unnecessary boiler use, while an integrated flow limiter helps households save up to 97% less water per minute, without a drop in pressure. In addition, its Aquifier high resin filter is part of the Abode filter recycle scheme, so it can be returned and recycled free of charge

Tags: kitchens, features, sustainability, eco design, rotpunkt

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