Modular Construction: Where Commercial Kitchen Design & Sustainability Meet

June 29, 2022
modular commercial kitchen

In recent times, builders, architects, and industry leaders have placed a greater emphasis on sustainability in construction and renovation projects. Between the late 90s and early 2000s, 61% of the construction and demolition waste materials generated from commercial sites were disposed of in landfills. These building practices were also responsible for higher water, steel, and energy consumption in areas with lax environmental protection laws. 

As calls for sustainable construction methods grow louder, it's led to innovations in producing eco-friendly materials and structures, significantly reducing many of these waste and consumption issues. Modular commercial kitchens are one of these innovative solutions for hotels, resorts, and other sectors. The construction processes involved in creating these structures take their entire life cycle into account. From planning to implementation and disassembly, the focus is on minimizing waste while maximizing efficiency. 

And it's made possible through the 3 R's of waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Reducing waste through efficient production

In the US, construction refuse accounts for one-third of the country's waste. It's easy to see why it makes sense to substitute traditional building methods for sustainable alternatives. With brick and mortar construction, day-to-day planning and operations tend to be fragmented and uncoordinated. This fragmentation leads to inefficient building processes, ballooning budgets, and waste elimination. 

However, modular construction removes the uncertainty and disorganization usually found on work sites. Instead, production takes place in a factory setting and uses repetition to optimize construction at scale. The work happens concurrently, and all of the resources used in one project can be repurposed in another.

This lean production decreases resource expenditures by 36% and reduces waste materials like asbestos, chemical solvents, and adhesives by 70%. When compared to traditional construction, modular builds leave a smaller carbon footprint. And when these structures are properly maintained, their lifespan can last for decades, further increasing their usefulness. 

modular construction

Conservation through reuse

In 2018, the EPA reported that demolition was the primary source of construction debris. Luckily, modular construction adheres to the principle of "Circular Economy." A Circular Economy is a model utilizing fewer resources and materials at all stages of production for as long as possible. It recaptures and reuses what would otherwise be wasted on on-site construction projects. 

This method makes it possible to dismantle modular structures and reassemble them in a different location as a "mobile property." It puts less strain on the environment, reducing the effort associated with manufacturing and transportation since it requires fewer on-site deliveries.

Modular commercial kitchens are specifically ideal for this purpose. They can be sold and moved to another property. All the benefits transfer to the new location because the unit is already optimized for sustainability and longevity. 

modular commercial kitchen installation

Recycling makes the old new again

In 2020, the building and construction sector was responsible for 36% of global energy consumption. Recycling counters this statistic by decreasing the energy normally spent gathering and processing natural resources like wood and metals. Instead, these and other materials are taken from existing structures, refined, and turned into new objects or substances. 

The EPA uses the Sustainable Materials Management model to identify which materials can be reused in construction projects. This model also applies to modular units, which are recyclable in a few different ways: 

  • Modular commercial kitchens and most of their equipment is made from steel, which can be melted down and reused in manufacturing and industrial applications. 
  • Fiber reinforced plastic panels and plumbing are easily recyclable and processed using remolding techniques to fabricate new commercial and consumer goods. 
  • Copper electrical wiring is a sought-after material that can be recycled like other scrap metals and used in plumbing and electrical components. 

Over 380 tons of plastic from construction sites are thrown away each year, and only 9% of it is properly recycled. As landfills fill up, the masters of industry must consider alternative waste management and building methods like modular commercial construction to reduce their ecological impact. 

construction waste recycling

Modular commercial kitchens make a positive contribution toward climate goals

Building and construction materials serve as huge contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, more countries are embracing energy-efficient building codes and guidelines in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These NDCs are in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and modular construction will prove crucial to help achieve each member country's long-term climate goals. 

In the US and Caribbean, many hotels and resorts already use modular commercial kitchens in their properties as an alternative to conventional builds. 

Through international initiatives like the Paris Agreement, those in the construction industry are empowered—and incentivized—to employ greener building practices. And for hospitality brands, they reap the rewards of making a long-lasting impact on the environment while giving customers more reason to align themselves with their businesses.

Sustainable commercial kitchen design solutions

Researchers have long concluded that prefabricated structures are a more sustainable option than brick and mortar construction. ContekPro understands the need to incorporate green, reusable commercial kitchen designs into resort and hotel properties. 

We manufacture modular commercial kitchens for hotels, resorts, restaurants and all types of food service providers using processes and materials that prioritize efficiency, energy conservation, and waste reduction. Our units offer a turn-key solution that places sustainability front and center. We utilize the 3 R's of waste management (reduce, reuse, recycle) during production to ensure each kitchen has a negligible environmental impact. 

Let us help make your property more sustainable. Check out our commercial kitchen layouts and get a quote for your next project. 

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