By Juliet Grable
HE REFRIGERATOR USED TO BE a design problem, the goal of which was to make the bulky appliance as unobtrusive as possible. Contractors could build cabinets around them, or modify the walls behind them so they didn’t stick our as far. “Flexibility” meant shelves that could be rearranged.
Not anymore. Companies have found clever ways to transform the once clumsy box into a design statement. Counter-depth refrigerators integrate seamlessly into surrounding cabinetry, and can be completely hidden with custom wood-panel doors, or highlighted with sleek stainless steel. Some manufacturers have stretched the humble box into a tall, regal column, or squeezed its proportions so it fits under the counter, like a dishwasher. In other cases, they’ve separated the refrigerator from the freezer, breaking the box into slimmer, smaller components. Drawers that pull out from under the counter bring the contents to the user, and can be installed anywhere. Modular collections, which offer refrigerator and freezer units in a range of widths, allow designers to mix and match for the ultimate customized kitchen.
There’s more flexibility inside, too—from drawers that change configuration at the touch of a button to advanced temperature controls. Some units can even switch from freezer to refrigerator. “Connected” technology allows users access real-time energy use and control settings remotely, resulting in more efficient operation.
Energy-efficient options are available in all of these categories. We’ve highlighted some of them in this Product Spotlight. Just keep in mind: it’s the cumulative energy use of all units that counts.
© 2021, Green Builder Media. All rights reserved. This article is the exclusive property of Green Builder Media. If you would like to reprint this content, you are free to extract a short excerpt (no more than 1/4th of the total article), as long as you 1. credit the author, and 2. include a live link back to the original post on our site. Please contact a member of our editorial staff if you need more information.