Photo courtesy of Fooferkitten at Flickr
When you think about reducing your energy consumption, your mind automatically goes toward your AC or your lights. And while the big things like heating and cooling matter, the little things add up just as quickly. Case and point – your kitchen. In many homes, the kitchen contains more devices than any room in the house. And if you’re an amateur chef like me, you manage to use all of them every time you go in there, which can lead to big utility bills.
You don’t have to give up cooking to save the planet, but you can reduce your usage if you use a few tricks in the kitchen. 1. Use the Microwave
Microwaves produce higher heat in quick bursts, making them more energy efficient than ovens. By using the microwave whenever possible, you’ll reduce your utility usage. I use my microwave for reheating, boiling liquids and making smaller dishes.
2. Skip Preheating
Unless you’re baking, you really don’t need to preheat your oven. Baking requires a sudden burst of heat to create those flaky crusts and help breads rise, but casseroles, vegetables dishes and most meats don’t require preheating. If you normally spend 20 minutes preheating your oven, that’s 20 minutes of gas or electricity usage you could save.
3. Keep the Oven Door Closed
According to the California Energy Commission, your oven drops 25 degrees every time you open the door. Once the temperature drops, the oven will have to work in over time to get the temp back up.
4. Cover Pots
Water will boil faster and vegetables will steam quicker if you cover the pot with a lid. The lid traps in the steam, allowing the pot to produce a more even heat. And since the lid traps heat, less will escape into your kitchen, keeping the whole room cooler during the summer. After all, nothing’s worse than sweating in your kitchen.
5. Use the Dishwasher
At first thought, using an appliance at all doesn’t seem to jive with energy savings, but dishwashers are actually more efficient than hand washing. According to Tree Hugger, a standard dishwasher uses six gallons of water per cycle. Since a faucet flows at about two gallons per minute, you’d have to wash each dish in less than five seconds to equal the water usage of a dishwasher. (I tried, and I can’t do it.)
6. Unplug When You Leave
Finally, unplug everything you can before you leave the kitchen. While you have to leave the fridge on, and you probably can’t reach the back of your stove, you can unplug the smaller appliances like the coffee pot and the toaster. Keeping these appliances unplugged when they’re not in use prevents them from using vampire energy.