Four Ways to Save Energy in the Kitchen
By Abby Berry
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Ah, the kitchen. It’s undeniably one of the most-loved rooms in our homes. It’s where we gather with family and friends for our favorite meals and memories. But like most of us, you probably aren’t thinking about saving energy when you’re planning that perfect dish. Here are four ways you can save energy in the kitchen with minimal effort.
When possible, cook with smaller appliances. Using smaller kitchen appliances, like slow cookers, toaster ovens and convection ovens is more energy efficient than using your large stove or oven. According to the Department of Energy, a toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
Unplug appliances that draw phantom energy load. It’s possible you have energy vampires in your kitchen – these are the appliances that draw energy even when they’re not in use, like coffee makers, microwaves and toaster ovens. The Department of Energy has estimated that one home’s energy vampires left plugged in year-round can add up to $100-$200 in wasted energy costs. Unplug them when they’re not in use, or better yet, use a power strip for convenient control.
Help large appliances work less. There are small ways you can help your larger kitchen appliances run more efficiently. For example, keep range-top burners clean from spills and fallen foods so they’ll reflect heat better. When it’s time to put leftovers in the refrigerator, make sure the food is covered and allow it to cool down first. That way, the fridge doesn’t have to work harder to cool warm food.
Use your dishwasher efficiently. Only run full loads, and avoid using the “rinse hold” function on your machine for just a few dirty dishes; it uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use. You can also save energy by letting your dishes air dry. If your dishwasher doesn’t have an automatic air-dry switch, simply turn it off after the final rinse and prop the door open so the dishes will dry faster.
Bonus tip: The best way to save energy is to not use it. Try a tasty, no-bake dessert recipe. Your sweet tooth (and energy bill!) will thank you.
By slightly adjusting a few of your habits in the kitchen, you’ll be well on your way to energy savings. Contact us to learn about additional ways you can save energy and money at home.
Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.