“Given world interest in global warming, appliance manufacturers and essentially all building products manufacturers are touting their ‘green' stories,” says Lori Dolnick, a spokeswoman for Miele, a manufacturer of high-efficiency appliances. Dolnick continues, “However, what mass consumers are looking for in appliances likely crosses a variety of categories, and the basics still apply. They want performance and ease of use.”

There is one technology in particular that manufacturers hope will supply the efficiency, performance, and ease-of-use consumers want: induction cooking. Largely used in Europe, induction cooking uses electromagnetic energy to heat a pan while the cooking surface stays cool to the touch. “Featuring the flexibility and versatility of a gas cooktop, the responsiveness of the induction makes it much quicker and efficient, particularly when bringing a pot of water to boil or simmering sauces and stews,” says Thermador, announcing its new cooktop.

The technology is emerging as a viable option in the U.S. market—at least, manufacturers hope so—which is why it can be found on a whole slew of products from other manufacturers, such as Viking, Kuppersbusch, Electrolux, KitchenAid, and more. Induction appliances usually cost more than traditional electric and gas units, so it remains to be seen whether the technology will catch on with U.S. consumers.

For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog, at www.builderonline.com or www.ebuild.com.