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Friends of the Kitchen

Michael McDonough
Michael McDonough

Michael McDonough is an award-winning architect and industrial designer with recognition as a leader in energy efficiency and green building technology. His projects encompass work for corporate clients such as Lufthansa and Frogdesign, modular homes, custom residential projects, public structures, and sustainable furniture collections. A member of the U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architects, McDonough also consults on regional development issues, green schools, green agriculture, and urban planning projects.

McDonough has lectured at innumerable renowned institutions including Yale University, the New School, Cooper Union, and NYU; he also co-founded the International Bamboo Design Research Initiative at Rhode Island School of Design. McDonough is a prolific writer and a speaker on architecture, green technologies, design, and art. He has been a featured speaker at international public events and educational forums including Wired NextFest, Dwell on Design, New Zealand Forestry Research, Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and Eco-Build America.

McDonough on Bamboo

With growth of up to 3 feet a day, bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource and “the poster child for green materials”. This ancient grass is a “super oxygen pump,” sequestering carbon dioxide and filtering the air while simultaneously returning oxygen to the atmosphere. Bamboo growth stabilizes eroded landscapes, and it offsets the consumption of tropical rainforest hard woods. It is edible while being used for paper, cloth, and cooking vessels. As for building, bamboo flooring and plywood outperform oak and cherry in strength and stability. Bamboo takes a wide range of finishes and adhesives and has a unique look depending on how it is cut and glued into strips and sheets. It makes for great kitchen cabinets.

McDonough on Greening Your Kitchen

  • Energy efficiency is the key to selecting doors and windows, and designing insulated walls, floors, and roofs, and it is the most important factor in making your kitchen ecologically smart.
  • Light fixtures with dimmers and halogen bulbs are an easy way to significantly save energy without sacrificing light quality.
  • Making the most of daylighting can offset the use of artificial light and – with south facing windows – heat.
  • Radiant hydronic floor systems use less energy and dry-out the air less than forced-air heating, while being “barefoot comfortable” in winter.
  • High quality appliances such as Sub-Zero and Wolf are both energy efficient and have a long product life.
  • Countertops made from stainless steel or granite are durable, recyclable, appropriate to the task, and last virtually forever!

Watch Living Green with Michael McDonough, a short feature from the Sub-Zero Kitchen Inspiration series.

McDonough and e-House
McDonough is the creator of e-House: A Lab for Living. An experimental home built in New York State’s Mid-Hudson Valley, e-House was conceived as a laboratory for the “best of the best” in all categories of construction. Its ultimate goal is to propose a new set of standards for how we build and how we live.

Watch Michael discuss the creation of the kitchen in e-House - from

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