Throughout your kitchen there are dozens of ridiculously easy ways to boost energy efficiency. These tips will make you and your appliances more efficient, saving both money and time. Making just a few changes will help you improve your carbon footprint, drop your energy costs and boost your eco-credibility, whether you’re eating like a college student or a locavore gourmand.
As you might guess, the appliances sucking up the most energy in the kitchen are the refrigerator and the oven. These appliances are sort of like the Hummers of the home, taking up a ton of space and using excessive amounts of energy. But, unlike that beastly vehicle, the fridge and freezer can be tamed into energy submission. We’ve connected with our friends at Pono Home, a Honolulu-based residential energy efficiency franchise that, along with Oroeco, was a winner of the 2014 Energy Excelerator business competition. The smart folks at Pono Home have some great tips to keep your kitchen in tip-top energy shape:
Five Efficiency Tips for the Refrigerator:
- Practice the two-thirds full rule. It doesn’t matter if your fridge is full of fruits and veggies or beer and pizza, keeping the fridge and freezer mostly full ensures that less air escapes each time you open the fridge. Each item acts as a “cold battery” helping to keep the fridge at a cooler temperature after it’s been opened.
- Clean your condenser coils 2-3 times per year. It’s a really icky task, but it can make a huge difference for the function of your fridge. Condenser coils direct the airflow throughout the fridge and often build up with dust, pet hair and other stuff. According to Green Living Ideas, you can save 15% of the electricity by keeping the condenser coils clean.
- Ensure airflow around your fridge. Keep a few inches on each side of the fridge, and try to avoid using the top of the fridge as a storage unit, which keeps the fridge cooler overall.
- Keep frost at bay: Not only does that frosty buildup in your freezer decrease the available space for awesome vegan ice cream, it makes your appliance work harder than is necessary. Remove any frost thicker than about a quarter-inch.
- Think before you open and close: Nearly 7% of the electricity used by the fridge is just from opening and closing, so think before you open!
Five Easy Efficiency Tips for the Oven:
- Match the pot size to the coil size. It’s imperative to choose a pan that fits evenly or slightly larger than your coil. Tf you have a gas stove, choose a flame that’s slightly smaller than your pot or skillet.
- Use the right appliance. A small toaster oven is great for cooking small batches of cookies, trays of roasted veggies and so much more. The energy use is still high, but because it heats up so much quicker it uses less energy overall. An electric kettle is another quick energy (and time) saver for tea and coffee.
- Make the most of the heat: Turning on the oven generates a lot of heat (and a lot of energy!). Use the oven light to see the food rather than opening the oven door. Cook in double batches to make use of the heat, since the oven is already warm. This means you should plan on two batches of cookies instead of just one!
- Cast iron cookery: Cast iron cookware seems old-fashioned, but it’s super retro-cool and mega functional. As your grandmother probably told you, cast iron is very durable, made from iron (rather than petrochemical based Teflon), lasts forever, and can be used with lower heat settings because it retains heat so well.
- Pre-measure your water for boiling. When making tea or coffee at home, pre-measure the amount of water before heating — this is both energy efficient and water efficient, since you heat only the amount you need for each cup. When you make coffee and tea at home, you can save time and money.
- For even more efficiency tips for cooking, check out this post on Green Living Ideas.
What are your favorite kitchen tips to save energy, water and time? Share in the comments below what helps you in your kitchen!