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I just returned from a Continuing Education Course where we were introduced to the latest concepts  in refrigeration and I wanted to share them with you. CEU’s are a necessary part of an ASID designers practice and are also necessary to keep up to date for my state certification as an Interior Designer.

In refrigeration there are four areas you should consider. First is the refrigerator freezer configuration, the install options, the advantages and disadvantages of the components and lastly is food preservation.

 The configuration trends are the French door top and bottom freezer, refrigeration drawers, separate freezers, built in and integrated, wine storage and refrigeration extending to other areas of the home.

 The top mount freezer is a style that is really just a need vs. style. This unit can be freestanding and sometimes needs to be balanced.The bottom freezer is more popular and can utilize a single or double compressor. This model offers you larger capacity. The side by side or column units come in many different sizes and can use single or double compressors. The French door model which is very popular sometimes lacks the storage space for trays when you are having a party. The refrigeration drawers are great for kids to keep their juice boxes however, do not offer freezer capability. The counter depth refrigerator is also a new trend which gives you a built in look and saves money. The built in refrigerator is for clients that require large usable space and want the food to last longer. It is also for the client that is concerned about aesthetics. One of the latest trends is integrated refrigeration where the refrigerator is totally obscured.

 Other factors you may want to consider in your selection process are lighting, storage, control panels, hinges and the latest wireless monitor!

 The three types of lighting we are seeing in the refrigerator are incandescent, (we are all familiar with!) fluorescent and halogen. The fluorescent and halogen are becoming more of the trend. The difference being the fluorescent lasts longer than incandescent  and is a cool light. However it is trickier to install, can have a buzz and tends to flicker as we all know! The newest is the halogen. Wow is this a good look! The advantages and disadvantages are it lasts longer, captures the color, it can be expensive, it can produce heat although the manufacturers have developed a UV protected casing to cover the lights and have the lights turn off automatically so the food does not get hot.

 Another factor you should consider is the shelving. Do we really need to move it? The kitchen professionals think it is important to move door bins and some actually come with mechanical movement which can assist the elderly or handicapped. You want to look for drawers with full extension. The other item you should look for is the control panels. Most people tend to prefer their control panels in the middle of the refrigerator because they are easily accessible there. Another very important item you should consider are the hinges on the refrigerator especially if you intend on using a wood or stainless steel front and have large refrigerator. You want to look for durability. The newest models can take a 200 pound load on the door without sagging! Also these hinges can be adjusted to stop at 90 degrees or 117 degrees with a pin stop.

 In the old days we all had a single compressor refrigerator. Now the trend is toward double compressors. One compressor for the freezer and one for the refrigerator. The double compressor uses less energy and is a benefit over the single because there is no transfer of smell from the freezer to the refrigerator.

 One of the coolest new trends is wireless monitoring. The refrigerator emails you and the manufacturer when it detects a problem. Then the manufacturer calls you once they receive the email that your unit has a problem. It could be something as simple as you left the door open. This is also available on wine cooler which could save you a lot of heartache if the power goes out.

The last item to consider is food preservation. You want to look for a refrigerator that control s both temperature and humidity. Some facts you may not know are 20 % of all food purchased is wasted and it is filling up 26 % of our land fills. Further this wasted food contributes to  green house gas which is very harmful to our environment and us

 I hope this has been enough of an education! Please check out my website for some beautiful kitchens I have designed for my clients using many of these concepts.

 Jo Ann Alston, Allied Member ASID, NJCID