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Designing and Building Sustainably - Kitchens To Go: Make Temporary Kitchens Sustainable

A Q&A with Ralph H. Goldbeck, AIA, Partner, Kitchens To Go built by Carlin

Kitchens To Go units seem to be the ultimate in sustainability because they’re reusable.

Ralph Goldbeck: We tell people that they’re recycled kitchens, in a sense. They’re modular buildings that are reused from project to project.

How is modular construction a greener option?

RG: You’re building in a controlled environment. When you build in a factory environment, you’re essentially bringing all your materials and subcontractors into a controlled environment, so you don’t have excess transportation to a remote site. It also reduces the amount of waste because things are very calculated and engineered so it minimizes the waste that you see on a regular construction site.

You also repurpose and reuse equipment.

RG: We do. In our Kitchens To Go lease fleet, we have probably 4,000 pieces of equipment in our renovation center in Etna Green, Ind. We bring the units back in house after a lease project, remove all the equipment, recondition it and put it back in inventory. As the units get repurposed to go back out for another project, we rebuild the cook line out of our fleet of equipment. So all that equipment is also being reused and recycled.

So your units go beyond just being sustainable.

RG: They’re very energy-efficient. We are typically installing them in a remote location, so we purposely designed them to minimize the energy footprint that is required by a complex. We’re also looking at sustainable ways of using daylighting, increasing insulation and using high-efficiency Energy Star appliances so we can minimize that energy footprint.