The kitchen can be one of the most energy consuming rooms of your home or apartment. Choosing the right appliances and fixtures for your kitchen can help reduce energy consumption, thus saving money and helping to reduce pollution. Energy saving equipment also often produces less heat, reducing cooling expenses in the summer. Here are some tips on selecting the best fixtures and appliances for this purpose...
COOKING: It is best not to rely on a large conventional oven for all of your cooking needs; these consume a significant amount of energy, and often take a long time just to preheat to a desired temperature. Microwave and toaster oven appliances use less energy and can heat many foods more quickly. Lower wattage microwave ovens use less power while running, but take longer to cook or reheat food than higher-wattage models do. If you buy a four-slice toaster, purchase a model which allows only one side to be turned on if only one or two slices need to be toasted. A stovetop with a small burner can save energy when a small-width pot or pan needs to be heated.
LIGHTING: Long tube-like fluorescent light bulbs last a long time, provide bright lighting, and are good for saving energy as well. Ring-shaped 40 watt fluorescent bulbs are rather bright and can be used in areas of the kitchen where the longer style fixtures won't fit or are unnecessarily bright. If fixtures which use standard light bulbs are already installed, CFL (Compact Fluorescent) bulbs can be used instead.
REFRIGERATION: Relatively new refrigerators use significantly less electricity; according to energystar.gov, Energy Star qualified refrigerators only use about 50% as much electricity as pre-1993 units. The same website recommends not placing them next to sources of heat, such as other kitchen appliances. Choosing a refrigerator/freezer combination with separate doors for the refrigerator and freezer (as most models have) is also better for saving energy.
CLOCKS: Avoid buying small kitchen appliances with built-in clocks; your microwave and/or conventional oven probably has a clock, so it is a waste of energy to have your coffee maker, toaster oven, radio, and bread maker also telling you what time it is. Unplugging kitchen appliances with clocks when you are leaving home for a day or longer is also helpful for saving energy.
Taking these tips into consideration should help you choose more energy efficient fixtures and appliances for your kitchen. Regardless of how efficient they are, it is also important to use them in a manner aimed at saving energy. Turning off lighting fixtures when you leave the kitchen, conserving the use of eating utensils, and cooking multiple foods in one appliance at the same time are a few of the ways to do this.