The kitchen is one of the most energy-consuming rooms in the entire house. With tons of appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, and induction stoves, most of the energy consumed (not to mention a huge chunk of your electricity bill!) comes from this very part of your home.
Most of our world is still powered using fossil fuels, a non-renewable source with tons of dangers to the environment. Therefore, it is imperative that we consume as efficiently as possible to mitigate the harmful effects of fossil fuels. Here are a few tips on how to make your kitchen more energy efficient.
Use an energy-efficient induction stove
If you haven’t switched already, moving to an induction stove from your conventional gas-powered stove can be a great way to make your kitchen more energy efficient. Induction appliances such as stoves are known to be 90% efficient at using energy than conventional alternatives. A gas stove on the other hand uses a huge amount of natural gas every time you try to cook food, making it a much less environmentally friendly option as well along with being highly inefficient.
Switch to LEDs
Another simple way how you can make your kitchen more energy efficient is to switch from incandescent or fluorescent bulbs to more energy-efficient alternatives like LEDs. Fluorescent bulbs, although more efficient than incandescent bulbs, are still not as efficient when compared to LED bulbs. LED bulbs consume only a minuscule amount of electricity and are highly energy-efficient, making them a perfect alternative lighting source for your kitchen counter tops and generally lighting your home as well.
Keep your refrigerator fully stocked
The refrigerator in your kitchen is always running, and if it isn’t stocked, it’s obviously not utilizing energy efficiently. Having your fridge fully stocked helps save energy in 2 ways. Firstly, it helps the refrigerator efficiently operate by cooling for a certain time and turn off for longer periods with the larger number of items inside helping maintain the temperature. Secondly, it helps the newer item entering the refrigerator cool faster because the items already inside are acting as cooling agents to maintain the temperature of the fridge without the compressor having to turn on.
Set the optimal temperatures for freezers and refrigerators
Unnecessarily lowering the temperature of the refrigerator or the freezer also means that it will spend a long time cooling your items inside. The best temperature for refrigerators to work efficiently is around 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (or 35 to 41 Fahrenheit) and -15 to -20 degrees Celsius (5 to -4 Fahrenheit) for freezers. These temperatures help keep the items fresh and prevent the appliances from wasting energy.
Always measure the water before boiling
Most of us don’t measure the water before boiling it. We need one cup of water to make tea but end up boiling several cups, only to wait longer for the water to boil (which uses more energy than boiling a measured amount) and then wasting the remaining unused water in the sink. Measuring the amount of water before boiling helps reduce waiting time, saves energy, and saves water as well; a very simple yet effective way to make your kitchen more energy efficient!
Unplug unused appliances
Many appliances in the kitchen (such as microwaves and coffee makers) surprisingly consume a good chunk of electricity when in standby mode. You’re probably going to be using the microwave once or twice a day, so why leave it on unnecessarily? Every unit of energy that these appliances consume on standby can be more effectively used elsewhere. So unplug that toaster oven of yours when you’re done toasting your toast.
Use more conductive metals to cook food
Whether you’re using a conventional stove that uses natural gas or an induction burner, one major factor that determines how long it will take to cook food is the thermal conductivity of the utensil you’re cooking the food in. Certain metals such as copper and silver have high thermal conductivity, meaning they can heat up in a very short amount of time. Comparatively, alloys such as bronze and steel take a much longer time to heat up due to lower thermal conductivity, therefore are less efficient while cooking food.
Although a good conductor of heat, silver is quite expensive so it’s not really a wise choice for making pots and pans. Copper on the other hand is relatively cheaper and one of the best conductors of heat. Using copper utensils for cooking can greatly reduce your cooking time and reduce energy consumed in the process.
Don’t unnecessarily open the oven door while cooking
If you’re baking cookies and it takes around 40 minutes for them to fully cook, don’t expect any magic to happen at the 20-minute mark. Unnecessarily opening the oven door to check on your food releases the hot air inside which was contributing to cooking the food quickly. Once that air is released, it will take the oven longer to cook the food because it has to recreate the environment needed to cook properly.
So next time, if you’re going to check if your cookies are done, be sure to check them at the end of the expected cooking time.
Be smart with your dishwasher
The dishwasher is probably one of the most energy-hungry appliances in your kitchen, so if you want to know how to make your kitchen more energy efficient, the best thing to do is use your dishwasher more efficiently. Adding too few dishes to your dishwasher means you’re not utilizing your dishwasher to its complete potential which wastes energy. Add too many and the dishwasher probably won’t be able to properly clean them all, so you have no choice but to run the dishwasher again!
One of the best ways to find the optimal number of dishes in your dishwasher is to check the manual that came with it. If you’re too lazy to read the manual (don’t worry, I am too!) or can’t find it, one way to make sure you’re as efficient as possible is to ensure all racks within the dishwasher are fully stocked but nothing is overlapping and you haven’t thrown so many dishes in there that closing the door has become a nightmare.
Making your kitchen more energy efficient is one of the best ways to become eco friendly. If done properly, energy efficiency in the kitchen can help reduce cooking times, lower your electricity bills, and allow appliances to work more effectively. It’s not about spending a lot of money, but being smarter with what you already have.