Let me start off by saying that I’m a strong advocate of saving energy around my home wherever possible. To me, as consumers, we should try to do what we can in order to reduce excess, combat climate change and create a sustainable world.
But I’m also a realist. I certainly have never been a fan of high horses. In this respect, I’m aware that saving energy comes in many shapes and forms and means something different to everyone.
Some energy saving initiatives are major investments, like buying renewable energy options or upgrading your home’s insulation or appliances. Some involve major makeovers of your house into a ‘green’ alternative. Luckily, however, there are also much easier changes you can implement.
Think of these tips more as a starting guide, a helping hand, while you wait to conduct more of the substantial changes further down the road. In this article, we’ve focused solely on the kitchen, since this room can have a big impact on your energy bill each month and is full of gas and electricity appliances.
1. Set your fridge right
Fridges are a costly appliance because they’re always on. It’s widely believed they run more efficiently when full, so even if you don’t have many groceries, use empty containers or bottles. This causes the fridge to save energy by not having to produce as much cold air constantly.
Make sure the fridge door seals are intact. It’s simply wasteful for cold air to escape through the cracks. And of course, set the temperature sensibly, since every extra degree uses around 5% more energy. Usually, a temperature between 3o & 5o is optimal.
2. Use dishwasher only when full
It goes without saying but a full dishwasher is much more energy efficient than a half load. Try to stuff it full before you switch it on. Also, make sure you select the ‘eco’ setting if your dishwasher has one.
Finally, try opening the door soon after the dishwasher is finished instead of opting for the drying mode. This should cut the duration down by a few minutes and not make a noticeable difference.
3. Restrict oven use
Because ovens are normally larger than whatever it is we’re cooking, there’s a lot of redundant space. Microwaves, pressure cookers and frying pans will save considerable energy. So try to minimize your usage of the oven when you can. Like the fridge, a few other tips include making sure the seals are working, meaning heat can’t escape, and trying to keep the door closed as much as possible.
One trick I always employ is to turn the oven off a few minutes before the food is set to come out. This way it continues cooking without expending any energy. Another trick is to favour convection cooking. This alone can save up to 20% of oven-related energy costs (through shorter cooking times and lower temperatures).
Article by guest author