Recently, IKEA launched a new appliances range with a clear focus on smart design, personalized functions and with the aim of lowering the energy use in the kitchen.
“We need a simpler and more understandable label, where not only the energy efficiency consumption is provided, but also how well the hood cleans the air during the cooking process. This is highly valuable information for the consumer” says Douglas Pereira, Product Development Engineer at IKEA.
For a long time, customers have valued a hoods efficiency by its flow rate. A higher flow rate, that most often come with both higher energy consumption and more noise, has been synonymous with a more efficient hood. That is something that IKEA, Faber, Elica and 3P Engineering want to change. To help customers save energy, the companies have cooperated in developing products that minimize the waste of energy. The companies are now, together seeking to introduce this new measurement as industry standard, Optimised air extraction.
“What Optimised air extraction tells us is how well the hood carries out its main function, which is to capture all the impurities that come with your cooking” says Douglas Pereira.
Outside Ancona on the Italian east coast, several well-known brands test their products in the hands of 3P Engineering’s laboratory. The specific kitchen hoods tests are executed with smoke visualization, filter analysis and gas tracers with related sensors. In the lab, it’s easy to see how much smoke and grease the hood captures, and how much is spread to other places. IKEA and 3P Engineering want this kind of information to be easier to communicate.
“The mission for all hoods should be to be as silent as possible, collect all the fumes and odors coming from the cooktop and at the same time consume the least possible energy” says Rosalino Usci at 3P.
Last year IKEA, in cooperation with the suppliers, started to roll out a brand-new hood range, with new design and functionality. Assuring that the products deliver the same, or better, result but with lower energy usage has been one important guideline. Optimised air extraction is already in use and applied to all the new hoods on sale at IKEA.
“Optimised air extraction is a way to measure the percentage of polluted air that is actually captured by the hood. This is something that European manufactures have desired for many years”, says Francesco Magrini, EPL Manager, at Elica.
He thinks there’s potential for the new label to become a global standard and refers to ongoing and similar discussions regarding Optimised air extraction within the European Union and US. He urges initially to European regulatory committees to understand the need of a new standard. All competitors are encouraged to join the cause, for a more transparent hood sale and for the customers to be able to compare products.
”Thanks to this test method, we are now able to have a quantitative and not only qualitative index. We can easily compare different product shapes and configuration”, says Francesco Faginoli, Functional Design Manager at Faber.
Optimised air extraction – What is it?
An index to measure the hood capacity to capture pollutants and odors produced during cooking. It will give customers approachable data on how well the product is working. Gas tracer and related sensors are used, during a simulated cooking process, to conduct the instrumental procedure and get a numerical value of the suction capacity.
Optimised air extraction is a working name for the index and might be changed.