The modern kitchen is made up of a variety of different appliances, each of which is designed to make life easier and chores less time consuming. However, the combined energy usage of these appliances makes up a sizeable proportion of your annual electricity and gas bills.
The best thing about going green in your kitchen is that reducing the amount of energy you use has a direct impact on your monthly outgoings.
Modern white goods are being manufactured in such a way that they use less energy and water; however there are also ways to reduce the environmental impact of older models if you don’t want to replace white goods straight away.
Replacing white goods: what to look for
According to the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council), replacing your old white goods with new ones can save you hundreds of dollars every year. In fact, they claim that a modern refrigerator will consume 75 percent less electricity than a 1970s model.
By replacing an ancient refrigerator with a contemporary model, you can save over $100 a year. Plus, you can further increase the green and ethical savings you make by choosing an appliance rated with an Energy Star, which will reduce consumption by another 15 percent. You will find the Energy Star label on all efficient white goods.
All new appliances must carry an EnergyGuide label. This does not necessarily mean your appliance is an efficient model, but instead it tells you how much your appliance will use. This label allows you to work out how much your appliance will cost to run depending upon your utility tariffs. You can easily compare the consumption of appliances by looking at each model’s EnergyGuide label.
Reduce the running costs of your old appliances
While buying new appliances is the best option to ensure your kitchen is operating at its most efficient level, most of us don’t have the spare cash to go and splash out on a whole new range of white goods. What is important here is that when your appliances come to their natural end, you look to replace them with something greener. In the meantime, there are things you can do to ensure your older appliances are operating as efficiently as possible.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring an efficient refrigerator is ventilation. In an ideal world, each refrigerator in the United States would have a gap of 50mm on each side of the appliance. This allows the fridge to cool down effectively. By stuffing the appliance into too small a space you essentially insulate the refrigerator so it has to work harder to cool down, which requires more energy.
Similarly in the freezer section, ice build-up on the walls causes the appliance to operate less efficiently. In modern refrigerators this is unlikely to be a problem due to the auto defrost feature; but older models should be defrosted regularly – at least once a year.
Induction is the “new” energy efficient technology to invest in if you are seeking a new cooktop, and fan ovens speed up cooking time and don’t require pre-heating. If you are living with an older stove, make sure you use the correct pan sizes for each ring burner. This ensures less heat (and energy) is lost up the sides of the pan. Your pan should be large enough to cover the whole of the gas burner or electric ring.
Additionally, when baking or roasting in the oven, don’t open the door to check your food – instead look through the window. Opening the door means vital heat can escape, then once the door is closed the oven has to use more energy to get back up to the required temperature.
Buying a new washer can save you $110 a year on your energy bill in comparison to one manufactured before 1994, and it will use considerably less water. Modern technology also means you can choose washers that calculate the amount of water, energy and detergent for each individual load by testing how dirty the laundry is.
Using your older model, washing at lower temperatures saves you energy and money. The best detergents are now created to ensure a decent clean at 30 degrees or less, so select your washing powder wisely.
Using your appliances wisely for a greener household goes hand in hand with lots of other measures to ensure a sustainable future. Other things you can do for an eco-friendly lifestyle include turning electricals off at the wall, using energy efficient lightbulbs, investing your cash in environmentally friendly places and switching to an eco-conscious energy provider.