THINK OF THE FUTURE, SINK OF THE FUTURE:
Exploring the future of our Kitchen Sinks
By: Michelle Goldberg, Rivka J, Alex K, Dominique L, Lisa Sorrentino
NON MECHANICAL WATER SAVING TECHNIQUES:
While many may turn to Kohler, Sub-Zero, or Duravit for a beautiful (yet pricey) water-efficient kitchen, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the many non-mechanical ways to save one of mother nature’s most precious resources.
- DO rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water. DO NOT let the water run while scrubbing them.
- PLAN! Rather than using water to defrost food, leave frozen food out the night before. If you do need to use water, use that same water to feed the plants.
- When boiling water, use only as much water as you need to submerge your food. BONUS: Not only do you conserve water but using less water will keep more nutrients in your dinner!
- DOUBLE UP. Place vegetables for steaming directly over rice, potatoes, or pasta on the stove. Less water and fewer dishes!
- DO NOT wash the dishes by hand when a dishwasher is available. But, if necessary, try using only a small amount of water for your sponge, then turn off your faucet until you are ready to rinse several dishes at a time. BETTER STILL, fill the sink or use a tub so you can give that faucet a rest.
- Always DRINK FROM THE TAP rather than buying a bottle of water. It takes an amount of 1.5 gallons of clean water to manufacture just ONE plastic bottle!
- Try to cook ONE POT MEALS. Fewer dishes used equals fewer dishes washed.
- STEAM rather than boil vegetables.
- FIX leaks as soon as they arise.
- INSULATE your hot water pipes. It will help the water heat faster and you will avoid running the water while it heats up. When you do need to let the water run until hot, place a bottle or bucket beneath the faucet and save that water for drinking or cooking!
- Try COMPOSTING rather than using the garbage disposal which will require more water to keep clean.
Above are just a handful of easy ways to make for a more efficient kitchen. It’s never too late to develop better habits!
Low-Flow Sink Technology
There are several ways to reduce the amount of water that comes out of a faucet without disrupting the way you use it. The first way is by installing an aerator on your faucet, or by buying a faucet with an aerator already installed. An aerator is a plumbing device that is attached to the tip of a faucet and serves to restrict the amount of water that flows out of a faucet while maintaining the same perceptible flow rate. Aerators use a mesh screen to divide the water that’s flowing into a number of different streams. By doing this, the water is mixed with air, allowing for a more consistent flow. Even though an aerator restricts the amount of water that’s able to flow through the faucet, the air allows the water to maintain the same pressure. Some sinks are made with built-in aerators, while others require owners to buy them separately. Faucet aerators are inexpensive and remain one of the most effective tools for conserving water at home, reducing the amount of water that comes out of the faucet by 50%.
Another similar water-saving technique is Altered:Nozzle. Altered:Nozzle claims to reduce the amount of water leaving your faucet by 98% and considers itself “ the world’s most extreme water saving nozzle.” The creators believe that the problem with regular faucets is that most of the water misses what you’re washing by either bouncing off of surfaces or going directly into the sink unused. To solve this problem, they’ve created a faucet that atomizes the water and “break[s] it up into millions of tiny droplets [thus] increase[ing] the surface area of the water drastically and make[ing] it possible for you to come in contact with almost all of the water coming out of your tap.” The nozzle has two settings: mist mode, described above, and saver mode which uses only 75% less water and is intended for tasks that actually require more water, like filling a pot, not just more water surface area. The nozzle can be easily added to your sink and has a sleek, attractive design. It comes in five colors and three sizes.
SINK OF THE FUTURE
In today’s society we are more environmentally aware than ever before. Through education, discussion and action there has been a change in our lifestyle. Healthy living, environment friendly, “going green”, has become a movement across the nation. As a society, we have come together to make our planet cleaner, safer and more efficient for upcoming generations.
However, in major cities, such as Manhattan, people do not have the access to be as sustainable as they would like to be. Key issues that most people would like to address in urban areas are water conservation and composting. Since technology hasn’t reached that far in the kitchen yet, we are left to our own devices to imagine what the sink of the future would and should encompass. And the possibilities are endless.
2017 and Beyond….
Looking to the future, appliances that serve a single purpose will give way to with those that can meet several user needs at once. In light of the conservation and composting goals of future users, we envision a sink that not only has a smart faucet that can read your needs, but also connects to plantings in your kitchen in order to ensure excess water is efficiently recycled into composting efforts. Luckily, GE Appliances is already on its way to designing such a sink.
As part of an initiative to predict user needs in the future, GE has envisioned the home of 2025. The sink they propose for the kitchen within this visionary home, meets the sustainability needs that users will be demanding from their future appliances.
The sink would need to be designed with different compartments that will address the distinct needs of water conservation and composting while still creating an efficient sink experience. This sink includes a smart faucet, delivering filtered water, carbonated water, ice and customizable drink cartridges to the user. This smart faucet will be able to scan for chemicals or bacteria found on your fruits and vegetables. When the item is safe to ingest, the sink will notify the user that it is time to stop washing the item. This sink can become a mini dishwasher, cleaning dishes left in the sink. Wastewater from both the sink and dishwasher will collect underneath and be sorted out according to appropriate recycled uses. The safe water will then be reused to hydrate the plants above. Furthermore, connected to your garbage disposal will be a compost compartment that turns scraps of food into soil, feeding the plants above.
This future sink will be a huge step in making life more efficient and sustainable. Those in urban areas will benefit the most, addressing the issues of water conservation and composting.