Kyoto Kitchen cooks up recipe for sustainable success


27 June 2006

An innovative new cooking method which uses less energy than conventional hobs is a winner at the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2006.

Susannah Clarke, a final year student at the Royal College of Art, is one of the winners at this year’s prestigious BSI Sustainability Design Awards for her unique new design for cooking in the home. Her award is being presented tonight, 27 June 2006, at the RCA’s Innovation Night. 

Clarke identified that traditional cooking methods are inefficient due to a poor contact area between the saucepan and the heat source or poor heat transfer between the two.

Her “Smart Hob” invention reduces energy consumption by 33 per cent* because it allows the heat source to have better contact with the saucepan being heated.  For greater efficiency the food can even be cooked by placing it directly onto the heat source, without the need for any cooking receptacle.

Clarke’s design is simple yet effective: an element made of silicon carbide sits inside a mouldable silicon hob, on which either a pan or the food is placed.  Says Clarke: “The method is far more efficient than normal ways of cooking and it’s quicker too.  The hob has areas where pans can be placed or if you want to cook directly onto the surface you can do that too by placing your food into the indented areas which keep the food contained.  The idea for cooking directly onto a heated surface is similar to the Japanese way of cooking, Teppanyaki, but what makes my design different is the materials used and the significant energy savings.”

Clarke is no stranger to coming up with ideas for the kitchen.  Her Kyoto Kitchen Co. is an ongoing project looking at energy usage in the kitchen and the ways energy consumption can be reduced through good design.  She has already created the “Cupple”, a device which boils cups of water using only the energy needed for that cup, thus preventing energy waste.

*33 per cent saving based on experiment which demonstrated that very close contact between the pan and the heat source reduced heat losses and saved 33 per cent energy.

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Other winners of the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2006 are: Caroline Till for her “Creative Intervention” project which reinvents discarded ceramics, textiles and furniture, and Jonathan Michaud who won the top prize for his project on ecologically and socially sustainable design practices supporting hand-weavers and their communities in India.

Susannah Clarke is from Sheffield and is a final year student at the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, studying Industrial Design Engineering.  She is also a graduate in Structural Engineering from Cambridge University.

To interview Susannah Clarke please contact Wilma Tulloch / Marc Edney, BSI Group Press Office on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 (24 hours).

About the BSI Sustainability Design Awards
The BSI Sustainability Design Awards support design projects that promote awareness of sustainability issues or provide sustainable solutions.  Now in their 13th year, the Awards are open to all students studying at the Royal College of Art.

The Awards help students find out more about their chosen subjects while learning about the relevance of sustainability issues to design.  Prize money is used to help research and realise projects. 

Past winners include: Peter Brewin for his high performance water-saving shower – The El Nino – which uses 70 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy than a conventional shower; and Will Crawford and Peter Brewin for “The Concrete Canvas” – a rapidly deployable hardened shelter for use by aid agencies in disaster regions.  This ‘building in a bag’ won the $100,000 first prize in the Saatchi & Saatchi 2005 Award for World Changing Ideas.

About The Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, specialising in teaching and research and offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 850 masters and doctoral students and more than a hundred professionals interacting with them – including scholars, leading art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisors and distinguished visitors. Visit the RCA website for more information:

Innovation Night 2006, Tuesday 27 June 2006, at Royal College of Art gives business and research partners the opportunity to meet the innovators of the future.  On show will be the work of graduating RCA students from the Schools of Architecture and Design, Communications, Fashion and Textiles, and Humanities.  In addition there are four prestigious award events to attend and a review of the second year of InnovationRCA. At the heart of the evening there is a rare chance to hear RCA alumnus James Dyson talk about the business of innovation.  Visit the InnovationRCA website for more information:

About BSI
Having pioneered the environmental management system ISO 14001, BSI Group has increasingly developed a leading role in the environment and sustainability fields.  BSI undertakes work in environmental data verification including Greenhouse Gas Emissions, waste and discharges as well as offering assessments of Social Accountability management systems which assure working conditions in the supply chain.

BSI has just published (23 June 2006) the new standard BS 8900 Guidance for managing sustainable development which will assist organisations in developing an enduring balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress. The standard will enable organisations to develop an approach to sustainable development that will continue to evolve and adapt to meet new challenges and demands. 

BSI is also bringing on-stream Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability training and verification of corporate reporting on CSR and sustainability.

The BSI Sustainability Design Awards take the form of bursaries to support students in researching their projects further.  To date, BSI Group has granted nearly £100,000 in scholarships and awards to Royal College of Arts students.