The plus-sized appliances that once charmed homeowners have fallen out of vogue. Likewise, industrial companies with tight profit margins are always searching for new ways to reduce operating costs. These factors have encouraged both sectors, commercial and residential, to consider the benefits of smaller appliances. Much of this shift is societal as well. Millennials are less invested in the idea of owning a large home and are in need of appliances that fit their scaled-down lifestyle, according to Multifamily Executive. Legislators have also received pressure from constituents to prioritize climate change and create incentives that reward companies for investing in efficiency. These factors have made compact, energy-saving appliances more important than ever.
Organization over new construction
Industrial Equipment News stresses that construction of a new building or leasing space is not always the most cost-effective way to make extra space available for the business. Renovations are often cost prohibitive, even if a company has enough cash in its coffers to construct or purchase a new building. Industrial Equipment News instead recommends that building managers take time to evaluate the space inside their current facility. Reorganizing space can save a business hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to the cost of constructing a new facility.
A surge in surplus supplies or new employees can be resolved through consolidation as easily as expansion. Smaller appliances, for example, can make a big impact on a facility's floor space. A tankless water heater, for example, are just a tenth of the size of a traditional water storage tank. The appliance can also be installed on a wall, freeing up even more floor space for the factory. Factories and plants can also improve space availability by combining compact appliances with a structural mezzanine that allows companies to take advantage of overhead "air space" in their facility.
A European influence
The allure of smaller appliances for homeowners is more than a matter of cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Consumers are also choosing compact machines as a matter of style. Much of this trend is driven by travel and subsequent exposure to European lifestyle. Living spaces are traditionally much smaller in Europe, so appliances and furniture overseas are designed with space efficiency as a top priority. USA Today notes that this trend is also driven locally by increasingly dense urban environments. Urban living has risen since last year. Over 2 million Americans moved into cities in 2013 alone. Energy-saving restrictions on manufacturers courtesy of the federal government has lead to the shrinking of appliances as well.
Thankfully, compact size typically brings with it reduced energy costs. A tankless water heater, for example, boasts 99 percent thermal efficiency. This efficient performance means that 99 percent of energy used by the appliances translates into heating. Tankless heaters also compare quite favorably to traditional water heaters, many of which only offer less than 70 percent thermal efficiency. It's no surprise then that the technology has caught on in the United States.