Sustainable Multifamily Kitchen Design: a Student Elicitation Approach
Erin A. Hopkins
Kathleen R. Parrott
Julia O. Beamish
|Published in:||Journal of Green Building, March 2018, n. 2, v. 13|
This case study focuses on the sustainable design of a demonstration kitchen space within a multifamily residence through a student lens. A project-based learning opportunity for undergraduate students in a senior-level kitchen and bath design studio was created to redesign a multifamily starter kitchen space into a multifamily sustainable kitchen space within the Center for Real Life Kitchen Design at Virginia Tech. Upon completion of this student project, a content analysis was employed to uncover sustainability themes within these student projects. As students are making the environment and sustainability priorities in their shopping choices, uncovering student themes regarding multifamily sustainability kitchen design criteria can uncover trends important to this millennial generation (The Nielsen Company, 2015; Timm, 2014). Furthermore, as demand for sustainability increases, comparing student themes to multifamily industry sustainability certification systems may unearth potential gaps in the industry which need to be addressed. Although there are several sustainability certification agencies that apply to multifamily in general, there is no one specific source for sustainability guidelines for kitchens, much less in multifamily units. This lack of guidelines and the inconsistency between existing certification programs make it confusing for consumers, developers, designers, and students to value and weigh elements of a sustainable kitchen project, especially with respect to multifamily housing.
By examining kitchens using current sustainability certification programs as well as this case study, recommendations can be put forth to shape guidelines for sustainable multifamily kitchens that are both clearly understood and sensitive to the environment. Ultimately, this could lead to sustainable kitchen design features becoming more commonplace in the multifamily resident home.
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