Tips For Improving Energy Efficiency In The Kitchen

Many have wondered if using small appliances as opposed to bigger kitchen appliances will save energy in the kitchen. A few calculations and a little planning can help you determine the best path to having an energy efficient kitchen.


The electric range, dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator are the primary electricity consumers in most kitchens. In many cases using smaller countertop kitchen appliances can result in less electricity usage but not always.


Many factors including the time of year, and the heating and air conditioning systems will determine your overall electricity usage. For example if you use your kitchen range during the winter all the electricity used for cooking ends up heating your home, and reducing your furnace from cycling on and off. The drawback is the heat from the range is basically resistance heating which is more expensive. Heat produced from a gas or oil furnace is much less expensive.


During the summertime the process works exactly the opposite. If you air condition your home cooking will make the air conditioner run longer so the cost of cooking has basically increased. The moisture given off by the cooking creates humidity which creates load on the air conditioner, and causes it to run longer.


There is an easy way to determine how much energy an electric appliance costs to use. The appliance nameplate lists the amperage or wattage. Multiply the wattage by the amount of time (number of hours the appliance is used) and divide this by 1000. This gives you the kilowatt-hours used. Multiply this number by your electric rate in dollars per kilowatt hour. If the nameplate lists amperage, multiply it by 120 to get watts.


A good rule of thumb is to use the smallest cooking appliance possible for the amount of food. For just cooking a couple of hamburgers, a countertop toaster oven is ideal. If the quantity of burgers requires you to cook them several at a time choose the range oven.


Another consideration is how many consecutive items you have to cook. If you are going to bake a cake, roast meat and then bake potatoes, use the large range oven. The mass of the oven holds heat from on food item to the next. This eliminates the preheat cycle and provides even cooking. Using a high quality slow cooker, such as a crock pot can also be and energy saver. For fast cooking a pressure cooker dramatically reduces cooking time. A small countertop convection oven has small fan to circulate the heated air around the food faster. Reducing cooking time reduces the total kilowatt-hours consumed and the generated in your kitchen. Some foods cook better without the convection air, but they will take longer. Of course using a microwave oven saves electricity because the cooking times for small quantities are very short.


There are a number of ways to acheive energy efficiency in the kitchen, and at the end of the day saving energy in the kitchen can be achieved by matching the amount of food you are cooking to the appropriate sized kitchen appliance, and purchasing appliances that have energy star ratings. 

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